ROCHELLE – The Rochelle Township High School speech team competed in the IHSA Regional Championship at DeKalb High School on Saturday, taking first place for the second year in a row. RTHS came out on top with 68 points, while DeKalb finished second with 58 points.
“The team was pleased with the results,” said speech coach Laurie Pillen. “It was a good day of competing for our kids and we had great competition, so we were really pleased that it ended up the way it did.”
The schools at the event included RTHS, DeKalb, Byron, Geneva, IMSA, Rockford Jefferson, Hononegah, Sandwich, West Aurora and Sycamore. The competition is set up with 14 different events, and speakers are chosen based on their strengths and weaknesses for each event.
Speakers start in a preliminary round, then a certain amount are chosen to move on to the final rounds and earn points for their teams. Each student can compete in up to two different events, and there are six to seven kids performing per round. Pillen said the best way to understand how a speech competition works is to compare it to a wrestling meet.
“A speech competition is similar to wrestling,” Pillen said. “A wrestling meet has different weight classes, and a speech meet has different events. There are 14 different events and there is a competition in each of those events, once again like a wrestling meet.”
Every RTHS student that competed on Saturday qualified for the IHSA Sectional Championship at Freeport High School on Saturday, Feb. 15. Cara Forsberg took first place in Informative Speaking and Radio Speaking, while Ava Coglianese won the Special Occasion Speaking category. Mikayla Preston and Ariel Zuercher placed first in Dramatic Duet Acting.
Five Hubs earned second-place finishes including Baxter Konstans (Humorous Interpretation), Faith Worthington (Impromptu Speaking), Maggie Duval (Oratorial Declamation), Lilly Robertson (Poetry Reading) and Lauren Ponto (Prose Reading).
Third-place finishers include Konstans (Dramatic Interpretation), Megan Thiravong (Extemporaneous Speaking), Duval (Original Comedy) and Morgan Haas (Original Oratory). Landon DeLille and Paul Swartz took fourth in Humorous Duet Acting).