Area students really know how to communicate
HARTINGTON — The Hartington-Newcastle speech team was sidelined last year in their attempt to earn its third state championship in three years.
That Journey for a third state title will continue this week when 13 members of the District champion Wildcat team travels to Kearney to go after yet another State title.
Led by its coach, HNS Supt. A.J. Johnson, the HNS speech team scored 170 points to win the District title, holding off Howells-Dodge by two points - the closest margin of victory possible.
The state meet is set for Friday in Kearney at Horizon Middle School and the Wildcats will be fully represented, even though COVID-19 restrictions mandate that each participant can only bring two spectators to the event.
The meet is usually held on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, but because of the pandemic, UNK is not having Spring break this year, so those facilities will not be available. Schools across the community will be used, instead.
For the HNS squad, Carson Jones captured first in the entertainment category while Isaac Bruning, Carsen Hopping, Parker Hopping, Reece Morten, and Bennet Sievers also captured the top prize in oral interpretation of drama (01D).
Jones is a young orator who has worked very hard to turn his season around after getting off to a slow start, Johnson said.
“He Just kept working at it every day and getting better and better,” he said.
Third-place winners also advance to state. Those students are: Delayne Sudbeck (informative), Rebekah Pinkelman (persuasive), Reece Morten (serious prose) and Lane Heimes, Jude Krie, Mani Lange, Alivia Morten, and Dayton Sudbeck (OID).
Other medal winners were fourth place recipients Carsen Hopping (humorous), Emma Wubben (persuasive) and Isaac Bruning and Parking Hopping (duet) and fifth-place honors were picked up by Alexus Hans (entertainment) and Jude Krie (humorous).
It was a team that battled all year in multiple invitationals, conference and district meets and came up as runners-up in the Lewis and Clark Conference.
“Our team’s greatest strength is its work ethic,” Johnson said of the 26 students who are involved with the program. “We have many young kids who were always eager to practice. I think each of our entries has a shot to do very well.”
Johnson has coached the Wildcat speech team for 24 years now and is assisted by Lindsay Stappert and Teresa O’Brien.
Reece Morten is looking at the state meet as a big opportunity for the perennial champion program.
“We have a very good chance going down to Kearney,” he said. “We are young and there is a lot of talent coming up.”
He is going into state with his OID group - which portrays a half-dozen characters that try to create the best play of all time and one of them does, which leads to Shakespeare stealing it to create Hamlet. He will also perform his serious prose of ‘Beautiful Boy,’ a piece in which he discusses the relationship between a father and son and the latter’s addiction to meth.”
The father tries to get him out of it, but he keeps on going back to drugs. Later, the father rejects helping him because the son doesn’t listen to him.
“It’s a strong and emotional script. It’s a good script to maybe win it all with,” Morten said.
He believes that Johnson picked the subject for him due to Morten’s ability to handle the topic.
The ‘Something Rotten’ script relating to Shakespeare is also one he tabs as “really fun.”
Morten has had fun with speech from the start.
“All my friends were going to do speech and I figured I would try it out,” Morten said of going out his freshman year. “It’s taken off from there. It’s about being able to speak in front of people without being nervous.”
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