The Choteau High School speech and drama teams added two more trophies to their collection with a first-place finish in drama sweepstakes and a third-place finish in speech at the Northern B/C divisional meet Jan. 20 in Choteau.
Racking up the points for the Bulldogs were 12 team members who placed in the top six and advance to the state meet Jan. 26 and 27 in Huntley Project.
Two members of the speech team advanced to state with Daniel Asselstine winning the divisional title in informative speaking and Amber Suek finishing in fourth place in original oratory.
Ellie Lee and Soren Cummings walked away with first place in dramatic duo. They were followed close by Cassidy DeBruycker and Faith Shepherd who took second in humorous duo and Arthur Merja and Alena Jackson second in classic duo.
Finishing in fifth place were Hanna Antonsen and Bailey Deshner in classic duo. Taking sixth place were Terrance O’Neill in pantomime and Rebekah Major in dramatic solo.
Choteau’s head coach Cody Marney joined his team in winning at divisional. He was named the division drama coach for the year.
The team will be recognized at a pep assembly open to the public at 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, before they head to state. Updates from the state meet will be posted on the school Facebook page.
“We look forward to state,” coach Marney said. “It is more rigorous than any meet of the season.” They complete in four preliminary rounds with the top 12 in each category advancing to the semifinal round. From semifinals, the top eight advance to the final round and become the state placers.
Marney said at state you can feel the energy in the air, every competitor steps up their game and is ready for fight for the top spot. “Choteau has been very successful all season and we look forward to presenting well in Huntley Project,” he added. “Looking at our record, we are confident the Choteau competitors will break into semifinals and we feel that we have a high possibility at advance many of them to the final round.”
The divisional meet ran well, Marney said. “Chris Hindoien and Jennifer Asselstine kept things running smoothly at the judges table. We greatly appreciate all the individuals who volunteered to judge. Their decisions really helped insure that the best of the best will be representing the Northern Division in Huntley Project.”
“There was a huge support for the hospitality room,” he added. Tammy Hindoein did an incredible job and it would not have been possible without the help of parents and others who dropped off food.
Marney also thanked the staff of Choteau schools for preparing their classrooms for the day, and all the help from the administration and office staff and the janitorial crew. “They truly all went above and beyond to make sure the everything was perfect,” Marney said.
Marney tipped his hat to his fellow coaches for scoring the events and judging when needed.
“We appreciate that the Northern B/C Division is like a little family,” he said. “We may butt heads from time to time, but at the end of the day, we would do anything for any of them and their students. Competing together for three and half months allows us to build lasting friendships that extend beyond the speech and drama world.”
The top six finishers of the individual events in order of placement starting with first:
Original oratory — Kari Nelson, Conrad; Kyran Neer, CJI; Josephine Howlett, Bigfork; Suek, Choteau; Tommy Woods, CJI (Chester-Joplin-Inverness); and Kyle Cumming, Bigfork.
Memorized public address — Melissa Paulsen, Bigfork; Madigan Kinslow, Bigfork; Ellysa Tempel, CJI; Emma Gliko, North Toole County; Carly Behr, Conrad; and Connor Simpson, DGS (Denton-Geyser-Stanford).
Informative — Asselstine, Choteau; Anya Young, Bigfork; Scout Jessop, Bigfork; Samantha May, CJI; Alex Buenz, Bigfork; and Ashley Otto, North Star.
Impromptu: Reuben Hubbard, Bigfork; Ben Keller, Bigfork; Annie Taylor, Cut Bank; Chris Rockeman, Great Falls Central; Quin Pray, Great Falls Central; and Elyse Pendlay, Bigfork.
Extemporaneous — Riley Hoveland, Bigfork; Hope Smelser, Power-Dutton-Brady; Kristin Hutz, Bigfork; Emma Wickum, CJI; Jared Erlewine, Bigfork.
Policy Debate — Jordan Claveria and Michael Bedford, Bigfork; Trinity Holden and Avery Holden, Great Falls Central; Braden Anderson and Kenan Rebein, Bigfork; Kayla Haffner and Bayley Grove, Great Falls Central; Anton Young and Evan Benton, Bigfork; and Addessa Judd and Bonnie Jones, Malta.
Dramatic oral interpretation — Donna Arganbright, Fort Benton; Steven Mulonet, Chinook; Ben Johnson, Bigfork; Shivell Norick, CJI; Retha Smith, North Toole County; and Jasmine Wilson, Fort Benton.
Humorous oral interpretation — Hayden Massar, North Star; Lorena Del Olmo Puyuelo, Power-Dutton-Brady; Noah Schmit, Great Falls Central; Hattie Emslie, Bigfork; Rosalinda Spotted Eagle, Cut Bank; and Darin Mecham, Conrad.
Spontaneous oral interpretation — Jewel Wicks, North Star; Aubrey Welch, North Star; Faith Stenger, Shelby; K.C. Isaman, Bigfork; Kathryn Simpson, DGS; and Dante Jackson, Harlem.
Pantomime — Jase Pursley, Chinook; Kim McDonald, Bigfork; Turk Salsbery, Malta; Keely Dedina, Lincoln County; Faith Aflleje, Simms; and O’Neill, Choteau.
Classic duo — Bailey Brooks and Mia Lee, Simms; Jackson and Merja, Choteau; Sierra Sievers and Veronica Schwalbach, Power-Dutton-Brady; Allyssa Shoen and Celia Baldecchi, Chinook; Antonsen and Deshner, Choteau.
Dramatic solo — Isabelle Griffin, North Toole County; Aurora McDonald, Simms; Abigail Cargill, Lincoln County; Conan Rehm, Power-Dutton-Brady; Hannah Nelson, Shelby; and Major, Choteau.
Dramatic duo — Lee and Cummings, Choteau; Danic Cate and Taryn VanHorn, Lincoln County.
Humorous duo — Boone Smail and Grace Burns, DGS; DeBruycker and Shepherd, Choteau; Mackenzie Roland and Faith Rosman, DGS; Hunter Steele and Hunter Carvey, Lincoln County; James Zietzke and Kolton Bean, Simms; and Kacelyn Christensen and Leah Fowles, Fort Benton.
Humorous solo — Jordan Mills, Conrad; McKenzie Sydor, North Toole County; Michael Sanchez, Shelby; Emma Persson, Lincoln County; Keith Epperson, Malta; and McKenna Baker, Lincoln County.