Speech team has record showing at state

Rarely does talent converge so abundantly in one place, but when it does, that place is usually Cary-Grove’s speech team. The season ended with an extraordinary amount of students headed to state and Olivia Roehri placing fourth at state.

The road to state can often be riddled with stress and nervous energy. While that stress and nervousness was present, the overall feeling for the speech team was pride.

“That weekend, I had seen all of my teammates perform, and I remember thinking how proud I was to be a part of a group of people that dedicates a huge amount of their time to spread their words, beliefs, and passion,” senior Sammy Dellaria said. “The speech team spends a lot of time together throughout the course of our season, and they have become like a second family to me. So, we had a lot of fun celebrating our success together.”

The familial atmosphere of speech team was the highlight of the trip even for Roehri, who placed the highest out of C-G’s competitors.

“My favorite part about going to state was qualifying with so many of my teammates,” she said. “We were all there to encourage each other, and it was a great experience.”

The speech team had much reason for such celebration. As a team, Cary-Grove placed first twice and second place three times in the regular season. Cary-Grove also took second place at sectionals and went on to place in the top five percent at state.

The amount of talent permeating Cary-Grove’s speech team was evident this past season with the amount of individual victories. Top placers include seniors Nick Anderson and Keegan Barret with three first-place wins in Humorous Duet Acting. Senior Joseph Brommel dominated Radio Speaking, earning five first-place wins by the end of the season. Other first-place finishers included Vinny Dellaria, Matthew Duncan, Sammy Dellaria, Eric Debold, Danny Gee, Jenna Dellaria, and Alaina Balbinot, just to name a few.

Speech coach Stephanie Sukow was especially proud of her Performance in the Round (PIR) team. Fourteen people went down to state in PIR alone.

“They practice for a really short amount of time, and they won sectionals with straight ones, so it was uncontested,” Mrs. Sukow said. Cary-Grove was also in the top ten for the sheer number of kids the high school sent to state.

“Taking a busload of speech kids to state is unheard of,” Mrs. Sukow said.

Roehri ended up on that bus to state for two events: Original Comedy and Humorous Interpretation.

“To watch her make state with two events is incredible because going to state with one event is really difficult,” Mrs. Sukow said.

For the whole of the season, Roehri walked away with thirteen first place awards: nine for Humorous Interpretation, three for Original Comedy (in which she took fourth place at state), and one for Prose Reading.

“But that’s just first place,” Mrs. Sukow said. “If you were to count every time [Roehri] placed, she had literally placed in all of her events.” That includes a plethora of impressive second-place victories.

Roehri claims her proudest moment was at the beginning of state.

“Everyone was nervous, but we took those nerves and turned it into passion,” she said. “I performed in front of hundreds of people, and it was the most exhilarating feeling in the world making hundreds of people laugh.”

Yet, it may just be Roehri’s attitude that impresses people the most.

“Even though she’s so talented, Olivia is very humble and encouraging of other people,” Mrs. Sukow said. “It is so nice, as a coach, to just watch her in her element and interact with other kids.  Everyone is so happy for her. She is very deserving, not just because she is talented but also because of who she is as a person.”

That sentiment rings true for Cary-Grove’s speech team as a whole.

“I think something characteristic of my team this year is that they are all really good people,” Mrs. Sukow said. “For me, as a coach, I feel like a parent. Watching these kids be good people is exciting and awesome. Then, it makes it even more fun that they are so talented.”

As much as Mrs. Sukow admires these kids, the speech team sends that appreciation right back to her and the rest of the speech team’s coaches.

“There is no way I would have made it to state without the incredible support of my teammates, coaches, friends, and family,” Sammy Dellaria said. “They have always been my inspiration and a huge thanks goes out to them.”

Both Mrs. Sukow and Dellaria agreed that state wasn’t necessarily something a person can prepare for.

“It’s really about dedicating yourself to your performances throughout the season and working with the feedback you get from each tournament,” Dellaria said.

However, Roehri did take extra steps to prepare for sectionals and state.

“I asked different English teachers if I could do my speeches in their class,” she said. “This way I got to practice in front of my peers, which was extremely helpful.”

Excluding the PIR’s shorter practicing period, most members of the speech team start working by the end of July or beginning of August.

“It’s a lot of work,” Mrs. Sukow said, “but that preparation really pulls us through all the way until the end of the season.” The speech coaches invest hours into these kids, and it most certainly pays off.

It seems as though state was a perfect way to commend all the hard work and dedication the coaches, kids, and parents had put into the speech season. One such example of this tight-knit speech family revolved around two talented performers and what Mrs. Sukow called a “home-alone style” run to see them both.

An extremely quick turnaround between Matthew Duncan’s event and Roehri’s event caused the coaches, parents, and other speech team members to all sprint in a horde of about forty people down ridiculously long flights of stairs in order to see both Roehri’s and Duncan’s performances. Each and every member of the speech team placed high importance on their fellow speech-mates.

This year’s speech team reiterated the common theme of excellence Cary-Grove prides itself in. Both the coaches and speech members display a caliber of passion tailored to every unique individual. Anyone can take notice of how much these speech-givers bask in all that is speech. They are special individuals flourishing in their specified events. The season may be over, but the memories these speech-givers hold dear will continue to be a driving force in the years to come.

As Dellaria said, “The speech world is an amazing place!”