Fergus High fights snow, sickness to compete


The Fergus High School Speech and Drama team poses with Head Coach Lee Stahl. From left to right: Front row is Josie Friesen, Lizzy Metzner and Head Coach Lee Stahl. Middle row is Katelynn Watson, Jessica Bolton, Isaiah Kolar, Alyssa Tombarge, Maddie Nason, Kailey Metcalf, Kristen Durbin, Camryn Vaughn and Danni Puckett. Back row is Jeremy Chalmers, Silas Watson, Sophie Watson and Jo Zapata-Brown.

Not pictured: Assistant Coach Jamie Waltenbaugh.


Photo by Jenny Gessaman

Snow and sickness threatened last weekend’s speech, debate and drama meet, but Fergus High School Head Coach and meet host Lee Stahl was happy to report Saturday saw some heated competition.

Fergus High School, Lewistown Junior High and Lewis and Clark Elementary hosted students from 18 schools including Fergus, although some competitors took longer to arrive than others.

“Everybody eventually came, even though we had some breakdowns and what not,” Coach Stahl said, adding late arrivals still competed despite missing first rounds.

Stahl reported all events, including the less popular classical duo, had good turnout. The number of competitors even forced him to create multiple sections for some events, including humorous and dramatic solos and duos.

“The humorous duos had the most judge angst because apparently, everyone was doing extremely well,” he said. “So it was very hard to tease out the first, second and third place.”

Speech and drama meets rely on volunteer judges to run, and even though that dependency can create problems, Stahl reported a strong volunteer turn out. Each event ran three rounds before eight top competitors faced off in finals, and only one round had staffing trouble.

“We only had one round where a lot of judges didn’t come,” he said. “We were only short five out of 28, so that was extremely good as far as I was concerned.”

While snow and staffing provided challenges for the Fergus meet, the Fergus team faced an obstacle of its own: illness.

“We did pretty well,” Stahl said. “There’s a fair amount of sickness going around so they weren’t at the top of their game, but I think they did well.”

Illness kept the debate team out of competition, but Fergus still managed to fair well on the speech side of the meet.

“Our girl took first, which is awesome,” Stahl said, referring to Fergus student Jo Zapata-Brown. “She’s usually in the top five, and she managed to secure first place. She certainly brought the pressure on her competitors.”

Fergus team members also managed to break the top five in informative speaking, with Camryn Vaughn taking fourth, and in extemporaneous, with Nicholas Sweeney taking fifth.

Drama events created another spotlight for Fergus High School’s talent, especially actress Lizzy Metzner.

“She did the best she’s done all season, placing second,” Stahl said. “She only missed first by a couple points.”

Pantomime also saw a strong Fergus performance, with Katelynn Watson taking third.

Stahl was pleased with his team’s performance, and reported his students took third overall in both speech and drama for the meet.



Speech, Debate and Drama results


Dramatic Oral Interpretation: Jo Zapata-Brown, 1st; Kailey Metcalf, competed

Extemporaneous: Nicholas Sweeney, 5th

Humorous Oral Interpretation: Kristen Durbin, competed

Informative Speaking: Camryn Vaughn, 4th

Original Oratory: Natalie Bonney, 7th



Dramatic Duo: Jessica Bolton and Josie Friesen, competed

Dramatic Solo: Lizzy Metzner, 2nd; Alyssa Tombarge, competed

Humorous Duo: Sophie Watson and Silas Watson, 7th; Isaiah Kolar and Jeremy Chalmers, 8th; Maddie Nason and Danni Puckett, competed

Pantomime: Katelynn Watson, 3rd



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