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Cedar Catholic speech team brings back plenty of experience

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HARTINGTON – Cedar Catholic High School speech team members are ready and willing to wow with their words.

The Trojans have already started their 2023 speech season, though the Hartington-Newcastle/ Cedar Catholic Invitational on Jan. 28 was canceled due to a snowstorm and the event will not be rescheduled.

Senior Grace Kleinschmit, a returning state medalist, placed second in Varsity Poetry and third in Varsity Serious Prose on Jan. 21 at the Scotus Central Catholic Shamrock Invitational in Columbus.

“Grace has been performing exceptionally and working very hard in practice,” Cedar Catholic speech coach Beth Sindelar said.

Kleinschmit also competed at the Pierce High School Speech Tournament on Jan. 14 and placed first in Varsity Serious Prose and third in Varsity Poetry.

“What is interesting is one kiddo brought in enough points to rank our school sixth,” Sindelar said of the final team standings at Pierce. “Pretty cool – above schools with huge teams. Small but mighty.”

Kleinschmit and junior Elizabeth Rokusek both represented Cedar Catholic in Class C2 at the 2022 Nebraska School Activities Association State Speech Championships.

“Grace medaled in both poetry and serious (prose) at state,” Sindelar said. “She was second and third, respectively.”

The Trojans’ first full team appearance this season was supposed to be at its home speech meet this past weekend at Cedar Catholic and Hartington-Newcastle, but again that competition was canceled.

“My goal for the team is to be as successful as possible, but at a personal level,” Sindelar said. “If they focus on making themselves better, the team will benefit.”

She explained she always wants to see her speech students develop and improve their skills throughout the season.

“I want them to personalize what they are doing and see how their growth relates to the larger picture of life,” Sindelar said.

“They should be able to use what they are doing and think about everything in terms of life skills,” she said.

She noted her speech students started practicing for this season right before Christmas.

“They are required to practice with a coach once a week in order to compete,” Sindelar said.

Cedar Catholic has eight speech students this season, the same as last year.

“This is very low,” Sindelar said. “We have a lot of talent at Cedar and I am disappointed that we do not have more students out, but we have competing schedules, for freshmen especially.

“There is robotics, bowling, basketball and wrestling,” she said. “This is why we are having to look at more meets that are not on Saturday. We have many of the eight who can’t compete because of Saturday conflicts.”

She noted she has been involved in speech in some form since 1996, including four years at Cedar Catholic. “Extremely proud of how hard our kids work who are out for speech,” Sindelar said. “I look forward to a competitive season.” The Trojans will travel to Wayne on Feb. 4 for the Wayne High/ Wayne State Classic. Cedar Catholic also will participate in a MASQ – Making Art while Socially Quarantined – Virtual Regional, with the competition taking place Feb. 3-4. The Trojans will hit the road on Feb. 11 and go to Wausa High School to compete at the Wausa Speech Invitational.

Cedar Catholic will travel on Feb. 17 to Lakeview High School in Columbus and take part in the Viking Voyager Speech Invitational.

A day later, the Trojans will go to Crofton High School for the Crofton Speech Invitational.

Cedar Catholic will hit the road again on Feb. 24 and travel to Norfolk for the Lutheran High Northeast Speech Invitational.

A day later, the Trojans will compete at the Mid-State Conference speech contest at Boone Central High School in Albion.

The Trojans have been assigned to District C2-3, with that district’s speech contest being set for March 8 at Plainview High School.

The 2023 NSAA State Speech Championships for Class C2 are scheduled for March 16 at Kearney High School.