Speech conquers regionals, prepares for sectionals, state


By Mike Stanford, editor-in-chief
The speech team decisively won their regional on Feb. 4 at Glenbrook North High School. Of the 15 events, the Knights won 12 of them and advanced all but one to sectionals (see “Running the table” for a full list of event winners).

Running the table

Prospect took first place in 12 of the 15 events at last weekend’s regional. Individual winners include:

  • Junior Molly McDermott in dramatic interpretation
  • Senior Riley Langefeld in extemporaneous speaking
  • Senior Ben Marshall and Sophomore Katie Jordan in humorous duet acting
  • Senior Rhegan Graham in informative speaking
  • Senior Abby Grott in oratorical declamation
  • Senior Jimmy McDermott in original oratory and prose reading
  • Senior John Zach in poetry reading
  • Junior Patrick Kelly-Dutile in radio speaking
  • Junior Alyssa O’Connell in special occasion speaking

Senior John Zach, who competes in poetry reading, says that the reason for this success originates in the program’s focus on competition days.
“A lot of other team’s go in, and they think, ‘We have to win, we’re all about awards,’ [whereas] our coaches are focused on [us] just making an impact with our audiences,” Zach said. “We just wanted to be the most impactful, and … with expecting that comes success.”
According to head coach Jon Kaminsky, this mentality manifests itself in practice leading up to events. The week before regionals, for instance, he and other coaches met with students as many as five days to make final adjustments in addition to their individual practices at home.
“That’s where the pressure comes in — making sure it’s the best it can possibly be for Saturday, so there is no pressure on that day,” Kaminsky said. “If you go in thinking, ‘Oh man, this isn’t going to work,’ or ‘I’m not sure how people are going to receive this,’ that’s when you do have some nerves going into it.”
These competition days have the additional challenge of being very long. The bus leaves Prospect around 6 a.m. and does not return until 12 hours later. For Zach, his second preliminary round was at 11:15 a.m., and then he did not perform again until 4 p.m. for finals. The effect of the day’s length tends to be very mentally draining.
Nevertheless, Kaminsky says Prospect has an additional advantage when the performances begin thanks to the large amount of speech members who are not competing but travel with the team for support. These students, who numbered 22 at Glenbrook North, help their peers be more comfortable during their events, and Kaminsky gives them tremendous credit in the team’s victory on Saturday.
Looking forward, Kaminsky hopes this momentum can carry into sectionals at Elk Grove High School on Saturday and at the state tournament in Peoria the following week. The Knights will be trying to follow up their first place finish at state last year, but they will first have to face the Wheaton Warrenville South and Wheaton North High Schools, which last year came in second and third, respectively.
According to Kaminsky, the plan is to continue the rigorous preparation they have done all season. Even with the memory of last year’s victory still fresh, he wants the team to concentrate on the path ahead.
“The only thing they should be seeing is the work that [the state champions] did last year and … [they can] be ready to replicate that work,” Kaminsky said. “If they’re able to do that, then we’ll see what their success is. I have no idea what it will mean in regards to state number of points, but they will have [had] a successful year.”