The Choteau High School speech and drama team kicked off its season at the Havre Invitational meet on Nov. 2.

“With all the other events happening at the school, it was really nice to take a small group to the season kickoff in Havre,” head coach Cody Marney said. “Having three boys that had competed before made for a relatively easy day.”

“All three competitors worked hard and came out on top this past weekend,” Marney said. “They were dedicated in memorizing and perfecting their pieces in preparation for Havre. The first meet is always a gamble, but Choteau was represented well.”

Tommy Lesofski took first in informative speaking. “Tommy stayed in the informative speaking category after finishing third at the state competition last season,” Marney said. “This season, he will be informing the masses on how to publicly speak with confidence.”

Also taking first were Nick Lohf and Terrance O’Neill in dramatic theater. Coach Marney said the duo joined forces this season with a dramatic theater piece. “Their duo centers around the harsh consequences of social media when a teen posts pictures of a homeless man stealing a bag of almonds,” he added.

The team will spend the week preparing for the Gale Patrick Miller Invitational in Ronan on Nov. 9. Marney said in the years that he and assistant coach Lisette Hofer have coached, they have never been to this side of the mountains during regular season. “As a Class A school at this meet, speech and debate are much larger with drama taking a back seat. Currently there are 265 competitors in speech and debate with 50 competitors in drama categories. It’s going to be tough for Tommy Lesofski and Hailey Alzheimer, but the competition will only make them better,” Marney said.

There are 15 students planning to compete on the team this year. They are:

Seniors — Lesofski, informative speaking; Rebekah Major, humorous solo; O’Neill, dramatic theater; Amber Johnson, extemporaneous speaking; and Abby Hadlock, spontaneous oral interpretation of literature.

Juniors — Ellie Lee, dramatic theater; Soren Cummings, dramatic theater; and Lohf, dramatic theater.

Sophomores — Hailey Alzheimer, humorous oral interpretation of literature; Katie Major, humorous or dramatic solo; Taylor Asselstine, humorous or dramatic solo; and Daysha McLoughlin, dramatic solo.

Freshmen — Jackson Quillan, dramatic oral interpretation of literature; Jhulliet Maltby, classic theater; and Anna Heimbuck, classic theater.

New to the team in addition to the freshmen are McLoughlin, Johnson and Hadlock.

Choteau will host a home meet on Dec. 21. Other meets on the team’s schedule are: Nov. 16 Chester-Joplin-Inverness, Nov. 23 Columbia Falls, Dec. 7 Fort Benton, Dec. 14 Malta, Jan. 11 Great Falls Central Catholic, Jan. 18 Simms (pre-divisional challenge), Jan. 25 Shelby (divisionals) and Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Bigfork (State Class B/C).