Coaler speaksters reach sectional

Coal City High School's speech team took third place in regional competition and advanced 11 to the sectional meet.
The Coalers went into the final round in 14 of 15 categories at the Reed-Custer Regional last weekend, and will compete in 11 events at the sectional set for Saturday, Feb. 9 at Normal Community West High School.
Senior Lauren Phillips earned first place in special occasion speaking and Zoe Smith, a sophomore, received a first place ranking in original comedy. Both were double entered in the contest and received rankings that earned them each a spot in the sectional for two events. Phillips will also compete in oratorical declamation having placed third at the regional.
Smith teams with freshman Eli Fritz in humorous duet acting and their regional performance earned them a fourth place finish and a place in the sectional. The top four placers in each category advance to the second round of the Illinois High School Association's (IHSA) state series.
Finishing in second place were sophomore Madison Holcomb in dramatic interpretation and Cody Rogers, a junior, in poetry reading.
Earning third place honors were freshmen Dylan Ludes and Shana Kelly who partner in dramatic duet acting, junior Dominic Curtis in extemporaneous speaking and Natalie Durham, a junior, in original oratory.
Senior Preston Johnson and junior Luke Cairns also advanced to the sectional with fourth place finishes in informative speaking and radio speaking respectively.
 Advancing to the final round of competition, but finishing just behind a sectional qualifying post, were Ben Kreiger, a senior, in prose, and Rogers in impromptu. The team's performance in the round, a state tournament-only event, finished fifth.
Coal City heads into the next round of the state final series ranked as one of the top 50 teams in the state, a ranking based on the number of participants in the annual contest. The top three finishers in each round of sectional competition advance to the state meet at the Peoria Civic Center Feb. 15 and 16.