The Choteau High School speech and drama teams wrapped up their regular season by winning first place in Class B for both speech and drama at the Power-Dutton/Brady-Simms Pre-Divisional Challenge Jan. 12. Twelve of Choteau’s team members also placed individually at the challenge, held at Power and Dutton public schools.

“The competition was extremely high and we expected to work for every placing that we received at the pre-divisional meet,” Choteau head coach Cody Marney said. “It is always nice to have that in the meet right before the divisional tournament.”

“The pre-divisional challenge meet also provides a general guideline for what to expect at divisional at Malta High School on Jan. 19,” Marney said. “In this final week of preparation, the kids now know exactly what needs to be done to come out on top.”

As a coach, Marney said, at this point in the season he begins to question whether he has done enough, could he have given them one more comment or tweaked one more line?

“Stepping back and looking at the season, taking into account all of the meets we have attended, I can confidently say that these kids are ready for divisional,” he said. “They all have a tremendous amount of heart and pride for their school, and I am sure that we will see that shine in Malta.”

Something that is unique to speech and drama is that none of the regular season meets have any bearing on the divisional tournament. Previous meet scores are not factored in and every single competitor, except for debate team members, goes in with a clean slate and essentially operates as if he or she were in a normal meet. “As with any sport heading into tournament time, the level of competitive drive is heightened, and one truly sees the real magic inside these kids,” Marney said.

The top six in each category will advance to the state meet, Jan. 25 and 26 in Three Forks.

The Choteau team has performed strong at divisional in the last three years, capturing the Class B divisional drama title in the last two years and the speech title last year. Choteau speech and drama also took third place in drama at state in 2016-17.

The individual placers in the pre-divisional challenge were — informative speaking: Daniel Asselstine, first-place, and Tommy Lesofski, second; impromptu speaking: Zack Quillan, third; humorous oral interpretation: Alena Jackson, eighth; humorous duo: Katie Major and Taylor Asselstine, fifth; humorous solo: Soren Cummings, fourth, and Ryan Griffis, fifth; dramatic duo: Hailey Alzheimer and Amber O'Neill, second; dramatic solo: Ellie Lee, third, and Terrance O'Neill, fifth.