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Speech season ends with fourth place win at state

By Staff | May 5, 2017

Submitted photo Rugby High School Speech team members competed, and won awards, at the State Class B meet last week in Mandan. (Standing:) Dana Thoreson (Asst. Coach), Maria Mack, Elizabeth Skjelver, Kaitlyn Boucher, Kimberlee Leier, Lillian Schmidt, Kate Heidlebaugh, Sasha Klein, Alissa Volk, Katelyn Duchscher, Nevaeh Christianson, Kiara Larson, Madalyn Pretzer, Amber Selensky, and Kyle Vareberg (Head Coach) (Kneeling:) Thor Skjelver and Jacob Christianson

Speech season at Rugby High School has come to end with a highly successful season.

After winning the Region 4 regional competition for the fourth year in a row, the team finished fourth out of 70 schools overall at the state competition last Saturday.

“We had a tremendous season,” Coach Kyle Vareberg said. “It was full of moments that really brought us together as a team. We had some tough moments, and we had to work hard.”

Vareberg started Speech at RHS five years ago with seven student participants. This year, 33 students made up the team, ranging from 7th graders to seniors.

In those short five years, the team went from leaving State its first year with no points to placing fourth.

“I could keep raving about this season, but it does not do justice to the amount of work these kids put in. They did such a phenomenal job,” Vareberg said.

This year’s state competition was especially interesting because all team members who attended have now qualified at a state competition. 15 students went to State, including four seventh graders. The team had five new qualifiers overall.

Freshman Kate Heidlebaugh competed at State in the Storytelling and Humorous Duo competitions, placing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

“I’m sad that the season ended,” she said. “I remember waking up all season and asking myself why I’m waking up [so early], but as soon as I got to the meets and saw my competitors and speeches, I was content and happy to be there.”

Heidlebaugh feels this season was an extremely successful one because she was able to try new events. “I felt like I accomplished a bit more this year. It’s a fun thing to do on the weekends,” she said.

Junior Maria Mack also competed at the state competition in the Entertain and Humorous Duo categories, placing 3rd with Heidlebaugh.

Mack’s Entertain was about what is learned from Pop Music. “It was really fun to do because I wrote it myself. All of the humor, all of the jokes, I got the credit for. It was all me,” she said. “This was a pretty successful season, and I did pretty well.”

Mack said her favorite part about Speech is the people. “I really like the people in it. I like performing and seeing the friends I have made over the years perform their speeches.”

This is Vareberg’s last season as coach, as he will be moving to attend NDSU and get his PhD.

“I’m going to miss it tremendously. If I could do both, I would. I said to them [before State], ‘Let’s get some hardware.’ It was the one thing I wanted them to do, and they got it for me. They are an incredible group,” he said.

Assistant Coach Dana Thoreson will be taking over next year, alongside another co-coach yet to be named. “We have some ideas in place [for next year],” she said. “I want to continue to do what they’ve been doing. We’re a strong team, and we want to keep that going.”

The team has known since March that Vareberg would be leaving, making for an emotional end to the season. “I told them everyday, ‘Let’s celebrate the success we’ve had,'” Vareberg said. “I’m glad to know that what I’m leaving is there, and they’re going to do well.”

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