Six speaksters secure spot in state tournament

Coalers finish third at sectional, among state’s top 20 teams

Coal City High School will be well represented during the annual Illinois High School Association state speech meet this weekend.
Speech [individual events] is one of a few IHSA- sponsored activities that will have a state series this school year, however the state’s speaksters will not be traveling to Peoria to compete.
Due to the pandemic, the state finals will be held virtually with the first round of competition on Friday afternoon, Feb. 19.
The state tournament follows the guide as to how the speech season has progressed with virtual tournaments that have had students recording themselves and logging into tournament sites to present their entries.
Six speaksters advanced to the state tournament in six speaking categories—two of them duets—based on their performance in the sectional hosted by Washington High School.
Coal City claimed third as a team and had sectional champions in senior Madison Holcomb and juniors Dylan Ludes and McKenna Patten.
Ludes will be returning for his third state appearance in dramatic duet acting [DDA]. This season he partnered with Patten and together they are moving forward with their winning selection titled, “Post Its [Notes on a Marriage].”
The team of Ludes and Patten took the title in DDA, having advanced to the sectional with a second place regional performance.
Holcomb enters this weekend’s contest as the sectional champion in radio speaking, her first appearance in the state finals. A second place finish at the regional earned her a spot in the sectional competition.
Returning state qualifier Zoe Smith will be double entered in this year’s state tournament.
Smith, a senior, advanced in oratorical declamation [OD] and special occasion speaking [SOS]. She enters the state finals with second place finishes in OD from both the sectional and regional meets, and she advances with a third place sectional performance in SOS, after taking second in the category at the regional.
Junior Eli Fritz and his humorous duet acting partner Izzy Kostbade secured a spot in the state tournament with a third place finish at the sectional for their performance of “The Marriage Counselor.” The pair earned a second place ranking at the regional.
Kostbade’s humor finds her double entered this weekend as she will perform in the humorous interpretation category. She finished in third place at both the regional and sectional.
Coal City is one of 167 teams across the state to take part in the state series that started with the regional tournament on Feb. 6 hosted by Morris Community High School—this year’s regional and sectional champions.
The Coalers earned a second place finish at the regional and enters the state tournament as one of the top 20 teams in the state, a ranking based on regional and sectional finishers and qualifiers.
Along with the state qualifiers the team was represented in the sectional by senior Addey Connor who advanced with a third place regional finish in prose reading.
Junior Shaela O’Keefe earned a second place regional finish to advance to sectional in informative speaking, and sophomore Collin Dames advanced from the regional with a fourth place finish in extemporaneous speaking.
Along with her performance in DDA, Patten competed in dramatic interpretation having advanced with a second place regional finish and Holcomb was also entered in original oratory at the sectional based on her first place finish at the Morris regional.
The state tournament starts with preliminary rounds on Friday afternoon and continues Saturday morning. Finals are set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up with a virtual awards ceremony set to get underway at 6 p.m.