Speech team sets new record at State tournament


Photo submitted by Kyra Kellogg

This year the speech team placed 7th at the State tournament, higher than ever before. Strong leadership and a sense of community drive the team.

For the first time in the team’s history, the speech team placed 7th at the State Tournament for their 2021-22 season. Nine state qualifiers and three state finalists attended the tournament at East View High School along with the rest of the team for support. Their success this season is a result of strong leadership and a sense of community among the team. 

The State Tournament took place April 22 and 23. There are over 13 categories that qualifiers compete in at the tournament. For each category there are four preliminary rounds before a qualifier can compete in the final round and become a State finalist. 

Junior Anika Wright, state qualifier in the poetry category, said, “In the first round I’m nervous, but then the nerves kind of settle.”

Nine members this year from the team qualified for state and three of those qualifiers became State Finalists. Junior Ava Roots in the Extemporary category, senior captain Kyra Kellogg in the Extemporary Reading category and senior Gursimrat Dahry in the Informative category. 

“It’s scary and intimidating sometimes. But at the end of the day, we all have the same goal of getting our voice heard and sharing things we care about,” Kellogg, senior and speech team captain, explained.

We all have the same goal of getting our voice heard and sharing things we care about.

— Kyra Kellogg, senior and speech team captian

The team consists of four captains, Roots, Kellogg, Dahry, and senior Tommy White. As three of the existing captains are graduating this year, it is still unknown who will be chosen as captains for next year’s season. 

Wright said next year she hopes to “place higher in the State Tournament and try out a different category.” 

Contributing to the team’s success this season is new methods of practicing. This year the captains have implemented peer coaching into the weekly team practices. Captains meet one on one with team members to give advice and help edit speeches. 

Junior Liam McClellan said that being on the speech team has lent itself very well to his school career and has also made writing papers a lot easier. 

Another factor adding to the team’s success this season is the strong sense of community that they have found in each other. Memories of bus rides to tournaments and even just eating pizza together was among some of the team’s favorite memories from this season. 

Kellogg, who joined the team freshmen year, added, “I was really drawn in by the community the team had, and I really wanted to be a part of it.”

Furthermore, the skills students can gain from being a part of the speech team include analysis, critical thinking, public speaking skills, and leadership. Most importantly, being on the team will help students with college application essays and interviews in their future. 

McClellan said, “I would encourage everyone to try it [joining the team] at least once.”