Five Coalers earn trip to state speech final


The Coaler speech team posted a fourth place finish at the Normal Community West Speech Sectional and advanced five students to the Illinois High School Association State Finals.
Coal City High School junior Luke Cairns was the sectional champion in radio speaking and will be making his first trip to the state finals this weekend at the Peoria Civic Center.
Carins advanced to the sectional with a fourth place finish at the regional contest a week earlier.
Each contestant will speak in two preliminary rounds, the top performers in each of 15 speaking categories advance to the finals and state placement is based on their final performance.
Cairns’ first round at the state meet is set for Friday at 1:30 p.m. and his second round gets underway at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Senior Lauren Phillips is making a return trip to the finals where she will be double-entered, having placed among the top three in two events at the sectional—oratorial declamation with a second place finish and special occasion speaking in which she took third.
This is her second time in the state final for special occasion speaking. Her first round at state is set for 4:30 p.m. Friday with a second round draw at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
It will be a busy weekend for the speakster who will get the tournament underway with a 3 p.m. performance in oratorical declamation, her second round is set for Saturday at 11 a.m.
Zoe Smith, a sophomore, is making her state final debut in original comedy. She advanced to the state finals with a third place in the category. She is set to appear before the preliminary round judges at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Freshman Dylan Ludes and Shana Kelly are also headed to Peoria where they will complete in dramatic duet acting. Their presentation earned them a third place finish at the sectional.
The duet is set for a round one preliminary at 3 p.m. on Friday and an 11 a.m. performance on Saturday.
Finals for oratorical declamation, original comedy and dramatic duet acting are set to begin at 1:30 p.m., Saturday. Radio and special occasion speaking are slated to get underway at 3 p.m.
The state final awards ceremony is slated to get underway at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and the presentations will be broadcast at
Coal City heads into the state finals among the top 50 teams in the state, a ranking based on the number of students advancing in the state finals.
There are no (enrollment-based) classes in speech, so all schools compete at the same level.
Coal City advanced six others to the sectional meet and four advanced into the finals but came up just short of a trip to state.
Appearing in the sectional finals were Cody Rogers, poetry reading; Madison Holcomb, dramatic interpretation; Dominic Curtis, extemporaneous speaking; and Eli Fritz who teamed with Smith in humorous duet acting.
Also competing at the sectional were Natalie Durham, original oratory and Preston Johnson, informative speaking.