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14 to compete at State Speech

April 15, 2016
Bryce Berginski - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

Prior to last weekend, the Rugby High School speech team had nine students who qualified for the state tournament.

That number went up.

Last week at the Region IV tournament in Cando, Rugby brought the total number of its representation at the state Class B tournament to 14 students in 19 events. The team had 28 compete this year with a majority taking home at least one award, according to coach Kyle Vareberg. Rugby also claimed region titles in seven events, with three students, Rebekah Wangler, Thor Skjelver and Madalyn Pretzer, taking two apiece.

Earlier this week, 10 members of the team competed at a national qualifier event in Mandan. Wangler and Skjelver advanced to the semi-final rounds of their events (extemporaneous and original oratory, respectively). Wangler then advanced to the final round and took sixth, becoming the third alternate to the national tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Our goal for this tournament was just to gain insight to the level of competition we'd be up against at state," Vareberg said.

Vareberg said the national qualifier is on a different level from a regular meet. Both Class A and Class B teams compete together, and the rules are different. Vareberg said it is the first year since he became coach of the team that they took the risk of competing in the national qualifier.

Fact Box

State Qualifiers:

Rebekah Wanger - Persuade*, Radio Broadcasting*

Carmen Mak - Inform

McKenzie Oppen - Persuade

Thor Skjelver - Entertain*, Extemp*

Kaitlyn Boucher - Serious Prose, Dramatic*

Maria Mack - Entertain, Storytelling

Madalyn Pretzer - Serious Duo*, Humorous Duo*

Elizabeth Skjelver - Serious Duo*, EPR

Alissa Volk - Poetry, Humorous Duo*

Kimberlee Leier - Inform

Kate Heidlebaugh - Storytelling, Humorous

Sasha Klein - Humorous Duo

Lilly Schmidt - Humorous Duo

Riley Grove - Humorous

*=region title

"It is a worthwhile risk," Vareberg said, "as the students who traveled to Mandan (on April 11 and 12) are ready to go back next year."

Vareberg said that with the state tournament coming up next week, the goal for qualifiers is to be relaxed and have a better experience at state than in the past.

"It's about the kids, in my opinion. It has to be about the kids," Vareberg said. "I believe in not over-practicing. That's just as dangerous as under-practicing."

Four performances from members of the speech team will take place during Rugby High School's Fine Arts' night, which will be held Tuesday evening.



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