Chesterton Tribune

Photo: Speech team takes fifth straight state title

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State Speech Champs: The Chesterton High School Speech team went to IUPUI this past weekend to compete in the State Speech tournament. The team won the triple A class championship and the overall championship, defeating every school in the state. Front, left to right, Lisa Misiuk, Sarah Christofersen, Kristin Kalita, Zena Kharsa, Annie Brady, Maggie Sharpe, Alyssa Flisiak, Andrea Ebert and Samantha Sangerman. Row 2, Kelly Starcevich, Jeff Corso, Alex Cook, Kevin Weaver, David Corso, Kevin Small, Jessica Hernandez, Angela Seawright, Melissa Baez, and Zack Stemer. Back, A.J. Rodriguez, Eric Schaefer, Beau Rajsic, Sam Lahti, Ryan Anderson, Jusin Fowler, Mike Haley, Justin Martinson, Kathryn Kattalia and Sruthi Sadhujan.     (Duneland Schools photo by Bridget Martinson)



The CHS Speech Team claimed its fifth consecutive division three state championship this past weekend at the IHSFA State Tournament, held at IUPUI in Indianapolis.

The team also won the Ralph Lawson Overall Sweeps Trophy as the best team in all divisions. This is the first time in twelve years the team has won the overall state championship and the sixteenth time since the sweepstakes trophy was introduced back in 1953. The team outscored 82 other teams to win the championship, including Plymouth High School, which had won the overall championship the past five years.

Many of the six hundred and eighty-four competitors endured fifteen hours of competition. All contestants, forty-nine in each of the fourteen events, competed in three preliminary rounds with the top twenty-one advancing to two semifinal rounds. The top seven from semis then advanced to the final round in each event.

CHS had twenty-five of its thirty entries advance to semifinals with fifteen going on to final rounds. Senior Alex Cook was the tournament champion in radio. Cook has won every state tournament he has attended this season. Fellow seniors Zena Kharsa and Kevin Weaver each contributed by making finals in two events. Kharsa was also the winner of the James Hawker Scholarship, which recognizes academics and attitude – the speech equivalent of the Trester award.

“This was a tremendous team effort. We felt from the beginning that if everyone contributed we’d be competitive, and the team really came through. We haven’t placed this many students in final rounds in many years. Our seniors took charge and the whole group got the job done; we scored in every event in which we had qualified. Our awards ceremony didn’t end until midnight, but it was a sensational end to a great year. These kids were amazing,” said coach Bob Kelly.

CHS won Class AAA (division 3) with 81.5 points. Following CHS in second was Warren Central with 46.75 points, LaPorte with 33.75 points, Penn with 22.75 points, and North Central with 22.25 points. The team took overall top honors ahead of Munster with 64.5 points and Plymouth with 59.75 points. The division two champion was Munster and the division one champion was Culver Academies – both happen to be in the same sectional as Chesterton. In other words, all three state champions came from the same difficult sectional from which CHS has to qualify.

Parents Ellen Sharpe and John and Mary Corso, along with former students Taryn Kelly Edwards, John Paul Benitez, and Greg Lanter, joined coaches Bob Kelly, Barbara Funke, Doug Pishkur and Chris Lowery as judges.

Final Individual Results: U.S. Extemp. – A.J. Rodriguez (12) – 4th; Sam Lahti (11) – 8th.

Radio – Alex Cook (12) – 1st; Alyssa Flisiak (10) – 10th.

Prose – Zena Kharsa (12) – 6th; Sruthi Sadhujan (12) – 9th.

Poetry – Jeff Corso (10) – 18th.

Oratory – Zena Kharsa – 3rd; Maggie Sharpe – 5th.

Oratorical Interp. – Justin Martinson (10) – 3rd; Samantha Sangerman (10) – 5th; Kristen Kalita (10) – 18th.

Memorized Duo – Annie Brady (12) and Eric Schaefer (10) – 7th.

Impromptu – Kevin Weaver (12) – 4th; Ryan Anderson (12) – 17th.

International Extemp. – Ryan Anderson – 2nd; Kevin Weaver – 3rd; Sarah Christofersen (10) – 7th.

Drama – Sruthi Sadhujan (12) – 6th; Davis Corso (12) – 10th; Samantha Sangerman – 20th.

Discussion – Kevin Small (12) – 5th; Kelly Starcevich (12) – 7th; Lisa Misiuk (12) – 10th.

Original Performance – Zack Stemer (9) – 10th.

This is one of the overall best years for post-season performance in the team’s history.

Since the post-season began for debate back in January through state speech finals in March the Speech and Debate team has won every tournament – IHSFA and NFL – in which it has competed – a total of six tournaments.

While this ends the regular season, many of these students will begin preparing for national competition. Some will be attending the NCFL National Tournament in Milwaukee, while others will be going to the NFL National Tournament in Philadelphia.


Posted 3/22/2005