Chesterton Tribune

CHS speech wins District national qualifying tourney

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The CHS Speech Team won the North East District National Qualifying Tournament and qualified six more students for the NFL national tournament in June.

In addition, one more of the team’s public forum debate teams became eligible for the national tournament because a previously qualified team from Ft. Wayne elected to go in speech events. This brings the CHS Speech and Debate total number of national qualifiers to fourteen students. Students qualify for the national tournament by placing in the top two of their respective events.

Three seniors were among those qualifying. Andrew Hogan qualified in both humor and drama and elected to go to nationals in humor (students can no longer double-qualify).

Mike Leopold was a district champion in original oratory, and Cassidy Peretin was a district champion in U.S. extemporaneous speaking; Peretin is also the first alternate (placing third) in oratory.

Also qualifying was the duo team of juniors Sharon Coleman and Kaylee Oates; Oates also qualified in humor but chose to compete in duo. Fellow junior Jennifer Kattalia was a district champion, qualifying in original oratory. Kattalia could have qualified as the alternate in drama but had selected oratory as her first choice.

CHS had 24 entries, all of whom competed in two preliminary rounds of competition. The top 12 in each event then moved on to a semifinal round, with the top six then advancing to the final round. Sixteen of the team’s 24 entries advanced to the final round and placed in the top six.

In international extemporaneous speaking junior Spencer Gordon finished in fourth place and sophomore Andrew Caratini was sixth. Junior Eric Dreischerf is the first alternate, placing third, in U.S extemporaneous speaking. Joining Leopold, Kattalia, and Peretin in oratory was Sharon Coleman, who placed sixth.

All four drama entries also advanced to finals. Following Hogan and Kattalia, were junior Kiera Quealy in fifth place and sophomore Mikaela Meyer in sixth. In humor sophomore Jami Ritchea finished in fifth place, behind Hogan and Oates.

The team was also awarded North East District plaques for placing first in total speech rounds as well as first in combined speech and debate rounds. The team’s 14 national qualifiers will compete at the NFL national tournament, June 10 through 15, in Indianapolis this year.

“Things really could not have gone much better for us today. We’re very proud of our national qualifiers, but we’re equally proud of the way the team performed as a whole. We have a great group of young people representing Duneland at the national tournament this year,” said coach Bob Kelly.

Joining coaches Kelly, Chris Lowery, Doug Pishkur, Diana Gill and Sam Marshall, were former team members Kara Fasone, Jessica Cleary, Jack Deuberry and Eric Schaefer. In addition, former student and community member Heather Augustyn, along with parents Marcia Ritchea, James Vincent and Alice Meyer helped with judging.

Posted 3/12/2012