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
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 wed be competitive, and the team really came through.
We havent 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 didnt 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
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
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.