Thursday, April 26, 2018
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Swedes third at state speech

The writing was on the wall as soon as the list of finalists was posted at the University of Nebraska at Kearney last Thursday.

There, the Swede speech team was competing at the state speech meet for the top spot, especially after a runner-up finish in 2011 and championship trophies in 2010 and 2008.

Plus the fact the Swedes dominated meets during the regular season, in addition to winning Southwest Conference and district

B-5 competition.

But it wasn’t to be.

Speech team advisor Dan Jensen said the Omaha Skutt Catholic entered finals with 11 students compared to Gothenburg who sent five into the final round.

“After finals were posted, we knew we would be battling Minden for second place,” Jensen said.

In the end, Omaha Skutt finished with 184 points with Minden as the runner up with 82 points. Gothenburg, who beat Minden at districts, had scored 66 points.

“They (Omaha Skutt) won four events and placed second in three of them,” he said. “That is impossible to beat with five finalists being the next strongest team going into finals.”

The rest of the top contenders included Ogallala, 64; Norris, 62; Gering, 58; Milford, 44; and Columbus Scotus, 30.

Like everyone else, Jensen said he would have liked to have seen the Swedes take the runner up trophy.

“We have beat Minden a number of times already this year so it was tough to finish behind them at state,” he said. “But I thought the kids did everything they could have done.

“They were mentally focused and prepared for this contest.”

In addition, adjustments were made during the week, prior to competing at state.

That said, Jensen said there are many variables that cannot be controlled at a speech contest.

“All the kids can do is go in and give it their best effort and let the judges sort it out in the end,” he said. “This time it just didn’t go quite how we wanted it to.”

The most important thing, Jensen said, is that five students each brought home a medal for which they should be proud.

“I don’t know of one of them that didn’t give it their all,” he said.

Swede medalists include:

Second—Senior Jeramie VanAcker, with a serious prose performance about a teenager on death row.

Fourth—Sophomore Carlin Daharsh with an informative talk about the Grimm brothers.

Fifth—Senior Ryan Ostendorf with an entertainment talk about bucket lists.

Fifth—Seniors VanAcker and Makayla Franzen with a duet based on the film “Incendies.”

Sixth—Sophomore Carson Messersmith in extemporaneous speaking.

Others who competed at state included: Madison Costello in both persuasive and informative speaking; Franzen and Josh Clark, both in humorous prose; Kayla Trevino and Carlie Stevens in duet; and the oral interpretation of drama team of Stevens, Alyssa Salem, Amanda Larson, Morgan Kowalewski and Mackenzie Brand.

This Thursday, the Swedes travel to Cheyenne, WY, for a National Forensic League qualifying meet that continues through Saturday.

Although Jensen said he doesn’t like to speculate about next season, he noted there are number of team members returning that have potential.

“Our seniors this year are few in number but were talented and hard working,” he said. “Our underclassmen, who will lead the team next year, are very capable, larger in numbers and fiercely competitive.”

Helping Jensen coach the team this year is GHS graduate and former speech contender Chauncey Brown. Keri Dudley and GHS graduate and former speech contender Zac Franzen volunteered their help .

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