The Choteau High School speech and drama teams will compete in the final meet of the regular season on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Simms High School.

The following week, the team will wipe everything clean when they head to the divisional meet in Shelby. “Just like the other sports, things happen at divisionals that no one was expecting,” head coach Cody Marney said. “It is not uncommon for the tables to turn and to see the kids that hung out in the bottom rise to the top. For us, it is all about keeping our composure and not letting the pressure get to us. It is hard to compete knowing that only the top six in each category will qualify for the state meet.”

The teams had impressive finishes at their Jan. 11 meet at Great Falls Central Catholic. In Class B, the Choteau team finished in first place in drama sweeps with 54 points and second place in speech with 24 points. GFCC took first place in speech with 109 points.

Individually, placers in speech were: Tommy Lesofski, first, informative; Abby Hadlock, first, spontaneous oral interpretation of literature; Amber Johnson, seventh, extemporaneous speaking; and Hailey Alzheimer, sixth, impromptu speaking.

Individually, placers in drama were: Rebekah Major, first, humorous solo; Katie Major, fifth, humorous solo; Ellie Lee and Soren Cummings, second, dramatic theater; Nick Lohf and Terrance O’Neill, fourth, dramatic theater; and Anna Heimbuck and Jhulliet Maltby, second, classical theater.

“It was a hard weekend of competition after the holiday break,” Marney said. “I’m not sure we were 100% ready to jump back in, so Saturday was very humbling and reignited the fire as we move into the post season. We did well collectively, but the kids really had to work.”

Marney said Johnson finally saw some competition in extemporaneous with the AA schools. “She has really only competed against another girl from CJI, so this was a great opportunity for her to observe and pick up some tips and tricks for divisionals and state,” the coach said.

“Rebekah and Abby were the dark horses this weekend and claimed the top spot in their categories,” Marney said. “Rebekah is competing with a self-written piece that is gaining traction in the humorous world. Abby found a way to let the nerves go and lead the pack all day in SPOI.”

“Everyone worked incredibly hard and that was evident in the team placings,” Marney pointed out. “Drama has continued to place at the top for most of the season and that is a testament to their hard work week after week. Speech is also staying in the top.”

Marney explained that with GFCC moving into Class B, the deck is stacked against Choteau in terms of points. “Having debaters in all three categories with little Class B competition helps them greatly,” he added.