Speech Preview 2022


Morgan Moomey, Co-Editor-in-Chief

January is the start of a new semester, and also the start of speech season. This year’s team consists of 13 members, seven of which are seniors. Julia Wilson, Chloe Mann, Morgan Moomey and Owen Weber are returning seniors. McKenna Ruffing, Kasey Jensen and Shelbee Burke are new this year. There is only one junior on the team, Annaka Digmann, and two sophomores, Kalli Bridge and Ann Ryan. Both Digmann and Bridge are returning members, with Ryan being new. The new freshman members are Bayleigh McCracken, Emily McCune and Olive Radice. Even with this amount of members, only seven are returners, and only one member, Wilson, has been a part of the team for her entire high school career. 

Wilson began her speech career competing only in the event Interpretation of Humorous Prose. Over her entire career, she has competed in Entertainment Speaking and Oral Interpretation of Drama (OID) as well. This year, she is adding Duet Acting to the list in addition to competing in Interpretation of Humorous Prose and Entertainment Speaking. In an interview with Wilson, she stated that she is “excited that everyone this year seems to be very passionate and motivated. Everyone is striving to place higher and do better.” She also said that she is excited to have more members on the team this year. Last year the team had only nine members. 

Four new members doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a huge difference in the number of actual speeches that are performed at meets. This is because each member is expected to participate in at least two events, with some members competing in three events. Wilson’s goal for the season is simple: “I want to place at more meets,” she stated. 

The head coach for the speech team is Dr. Christina Kloch. This is Kloch’s second year as head coach. Much like Wilson, Kloch is also excited for the new members this year. “This means that we have a lot more entries at speech meets, allowing us to be more competitive with bigger schools. I am also excited that the returning members are excited about their speeches. I am excited to see how all of the speeches progress this season,” stated Kloch. The growing numbers on the team show that “the word is getting around that speech is here and that we are having success. Other people want to be a part of that too.” 

Due to the pandemic, there were many Covid restrictions last year that have since been lifted. Kloch explained, “Last year, people couldn’t go watch speeches which is hard because you can’t see what’s out there and grow from it. Parents couldn’t watch their kids, and the kids were separated into rooms, making it harder to make speech friends.”  Luckily though, there are no restrictions this year, making the world of speech more inviting and less intimidating for the new members. Lastly, Kloch was asked about her goals for herself and the team: “My goals are to hopefully be able to take every member to districts in at least one event and to be more competitive against schools in our district. We will be able to fill every slot that we can, making us more likely to win team sweepstakes awards, which are hard to win with a limited number of members.” 

Last weekend, five members competed in Gering for the Holiday Tournament. These members were Wilson, Digmann, McCracken, Bridge and Ryan. The team was able to find much success at the first meet of the year with all members placing in their events. Wilson placed sixth in Entertainment Speaking, Digmann placed sixth in Poetry, McCracken placed third in novice Humorous Prose, Bridge placed fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking and fourth in Entertainment Speaking and Ryan placed fifth in novice Extemporaneous Speaking. 

On January 15, the team will travel to Scottsbluff for the first official meet of the season. January 22 is the Alliance speech meet, so come out and support the team right at home! Best of luck AHS speech!