After a week off school, the Choteau High School speech and drama team competed in the Shelby tournament on Dec. 1, capturing first place sweeps in speech and third place sweeps in drama.

The tournament saw 11 Choteau participants place.

Zack Quillan and Daniel Asselstine took first place in impromptu speaking and informative speaking, respectively. Tommy Lesofski also competed in informative speaking and walked away with third place.

In drama, Amber O’Neill and Hailey Alzheimer finished in third place in dramatic duo. Taylor Asselstine and Katie Major competed in humorous duo and took fourth place, as did Ellie Lee in dramatic solo. Finishing in fifth place were Terrance O’Neill in dramatic solo and Alena Jackson in humorous oral interpretation.

Ryan Griffis finished in sixth place in humorous solo while Nick Lohf and Soren Cummings came in seventh in humorous oral interpretation and humorous solo.

“Zack (Quillan) had a perfect weekend, scoring straight ones in preliminary rounds as well as straight ones in finals,” said head coach Cody Marney. “The fact that he has three minutes to prepare a three to five-minute speech on a different prompt every round is truly astonishing.”

This was the first weekend that many of the drama entries saw other competition, Marney said. “They all had great preliminary rounds but stumbled a bit moving into finals. We will spend this next week developing a strategy to be more successful in the final rounds.”

The speech team is competing well from week-to-week, Marney said, adding, “We are excited how successful they have been, and it is showing as they brought home another first-place sweeps trophy.”

Marney and assistant coach Lisette Langdorf noted there are more on the speech side this year, which has been a big adjustment. “It is no secret that we thrive more on the drama side, so this shift has forced us to really become more well-rounded with both sides,” he said.

The drama team is consistently moving up the ranks each week bringing home third place drama sweeps, he said, adding, “We’re still finalizing some drama pieces and we are all looking forward to showing Choteau what the drama team can do.”

Marney said the team is making a change from the printed schedule and will travel to Chinook instead of Townsend. “We always look forward to the southern competition, but made the last-minute decision to travel more north. We haven’t been in a couple years and coach Bonnie Ortner has something cooked up to really challenge the competitors. She has been a mentor coach for both of us and an inspiration to the entire speech and drama program. We are excited to break out of the ‘norm’ and compete on the Hi-Line.”

The Choteau meet is shaping up well. Currently, all judging positions are filled, and the other volunteers are lining up perfectly. “We appreciate all the volunteer support that Choteau offers every year to this program,” Marney said.