By Clint Andersen
After an incredibly successful regular season that started December 1st, the Gordon-Rushville speech team turned in a third place team finish at districts and sent four events on to state competition. The Mustangs sent nine participants to finals in six different events: James Neeley in Entertainment, Cole Kayton in Extemporaneous and Informative, Michael Barth and Rachel Johnson in Serious Prose, Shelby Andersen in Persuasive, and the team of Emma August and Shelby Retzlaff in Duet Acting. When the dust settled, four of the eight events that finalled will be going on to state competition.
The top three placers in each event qualified for the state speech contest next week in Kearney. James Neeley was third in Entertainment, Cole Kayton was second in Extemporaneous, Michael Barth was second in Serious Prose, and Rachel Johnson was third in Serious Prose. Those making finals but not moving on to state were Devin Dykes who was fifth in Extemporaneous, Shelby Andersen, fifth in Persuasive, Cole Kayton, sixth in Informative, and the team of Emma August and Shelby Retzlaff, sixth in Duet Acting.
Unlike regular season contests, team points are accumulated by all participants - not just finalists, which makes a strong showing from all team members very important. The strength of the Mustang team in all events was evident as the team finished in third place with 92 points, just two points behind Runner-Up Kearney Catholic’s 94 points and one point ahead of fourth place Bridgeport. The host team, Ainsworth, took home the district title with 125 points. The Mustangs’ strong team finish is even more impressive considering that, unlike the other top four teams, they didn’t have a district champion in any event to boost their point total.
The state speech meet will be next Thursday, March 21 on the campus of UN-K in Kearney. After facing some of the best competition in the state all season long, the G-R speakers are well-prepared and will be very competitive.