The Chesterton High School Speech Team won big at the IHSFA state tournament
last weekend. The speech team won both the Division Three state title as
well as the overall state title, beating last year’s state champion, Warren
Central, by 25 points – the most dominant performance by a team in several
Fifteen CHS entries advanced to final rounds, accumulating 91.5 points.
Eric Schaefer and Trinadi Shires were state champions for CHS, Schaefer in
humor and Shires in broadcasting.
Jeff Corso in prose, Beau Rajsic in broadcasting, and Sarah Christofersen in
impromptu all placed second.
Christofersen garnered the most points for the team, 13, by placing second
in impromptu and third in international extemporaneous speaking, but the
victory was a team effort with finalists in 11 of the 14 events.
“We have felt all year that this is one of the strongest, deepest teams
we’ve had in some time, and they really proved themselves this weekend. We
talked about a mindset of focusing and finishing and that is exactly what
they did. They are a tremendous group of young people, champions in every
sense of the word,” said coach Bob Kelly.
Overall – the three divisions combined – Warren Central was second to
Chesterton and Plymouth placed third.
In division one (small schools) Canterbury was first, and in division two
Plymouth took first.
In division three (schools with more than 1500 students) CHS beat out Warren
Central, second, and Munster, third.
As the overall sweepstakes team CHS was awarded the Ralph C. Lawson Memorial
Trophy, the eighteenth time the team has won the award.
Joining tournament champion Eric Schaefer (12) in humor was sophomore Jack
Deuberry, who placed fourth. In addition, Schaefer and his partner, Kelsey
Phillips (10), placed fifth in memorized duo. Following Trinadi Shires (11)
and Beau Rajsic (12), who were first and second in broadcasting, was
Kathleen O’Keefe (12) finishing seventh.
In international extemporaneous speaking Sarah Christofersen (12) placed
third, followed by Tyler DeMar (12) in fourth and Samantha Kattalia (11) in
seventh. Christofersen was also second in impromptu. Jay Hartford (12) took
sixth place in domestic extemporaneous speaking.
Kristin Kalita (12) and Alyssa Penning (12) finished fifth and sixth in
original oratory, and Samantha Sangerman (12) was fourth in declamation.
Sangerman, the third CHS contestant to place in two events, also placed
third in dramatic interpretation. Junior Kelsey Marchak placed ninth in
declamation. Senior Jeff Corso was the runner-up in prose and junior Zack
Stemer took fourth place in original performance.
Advancing to semifinals but not to finals for CHS were Melissa Frye (12) in
domestic extemporaneous, Samantha Kattalia in original oratory, Greg Gentry
(11) in discussion, Tyler DeMar in impromptu, Kayla Fleming (12) and Zack
Stemer in memorized duo, Jeff Corso in prose, and Jack Deuberry and Aaron
Fioritto (10) in scripted duo.
Former students Taryn Kelly, Molly Deuberry, Alison Vodnoy, and Francesca
Smith, along with Valparaiso University student Corryn Short, and parent
Pegg Sangerman all helped with judging. Also judging or working the
tournament were coaches Bob Kelly, Amy Pavlock, Chris Lowery and Barbara
This was the final state tournament for coach Barbara Funke, who is retiring
from speech coaching after thirty-two years.