Fergus speech and drama taking 17 of 19 to state


Two of Fergus High School’s Speech and Drama captains, Camryn Vaughn, left, and Katelynn Watson, right, stand ready to take on the Class A state meet this weekend at Laurel.

Photo by Jenny Gessaman

From wintery cross-campus treks to a computer malfunction, Fergus’ speech and drama team faced several challenges at last weekend’s divisional meet held at Havre’s MSU-Northern. According to Head Coach Lee Stahl, the team’s effort paid off: After fighting their way through the competition, 17 out of 19 members are headed to state.

“We had a wild time in Havre,” Stahl said. “[A] Computer malfunction got the competition off to a rocky start, but everything smoothed out.”

Competitors had to place in the top 12 to qualify for state. Not only did a majority of the team qualify, several members earned medals by placing in the top eight, including four competitors from speech and five from drama.

Stahl was pleased with the number of students moving on, but not surprised.

“I’m always deeply suspicious,” he said. “It was something I somewhat suspected: The number of people in speech and drama has been dropping for a while now.”

He didn’t give all the credit to low turnout, though.

“On the other hand, several of my students performed above what I expected them to do, and, in fact, we only had one take last place. That person was sick and had absolutely no voice.”

Team members were also happy with their performances for state, especially given some of the meet’s stresses. Overall Team Captain Camryn Vaughn said the team had a low drop rate for the season, so everyone was familiar with their competition heading into divisionals.

“We all knew the number of people we needed to beat in order to go to state,” she said. “It was kind of stressful sitting there, picking out who you had to beat.”

According to Drama Captain Katelynn Watson, the campus created some extra worry, too. She said the meet was held in three different MSU-Northern buildings, and the most stressful thing was finding when and where her next round was.

With state less than a week away, Watson reported nerves had given away to anticipation for most of the team.

“I think, from all the kids I talked to, the most exciting thing is getting the chance to go,” she said.

Individuals and teams are not allowed to change skits or speeches between divisional and state competitions, so Vaughn plans to use the remaining practices to polish up her informative speaking piece.

“I think I’ll be just perfecting it really,” she said. “I’ve used the same speech the entire season, and I’m pretty content with it.”

Watson’s polish on her pantomime piece will involve a more physical work.

“I’m probably going to work on falling because it’s the hardest thing,” she said.

Stahl expects everyone will be adding finishing touches in the coming days.

“Some of our event require visual aids, so we’re going to spend time improving those, adding color and finding stronger imagery,” he said. “For the other events, we’ll be trying to tighten up their actual speaking.”

This year’s Class A state competition is in Laurel, and the team departure on Thursday will give Fergus competitors a big boost, according to Stahl.

“We’ll leave Thursday, and the competition starts Friday,” he said. “That’ll allow them to not have to get up at o’dark thirty [to travel].”



Fergus Speech and Drama Divisional Results

The top 12 in each event go on to the state competition, the top eight received medals


Speech and Debate

Original oratory: Natalie Bonney, 10th

Informative speaking: Danni Puckett, 13th, qualified for state; Garrett Fowler, 12th; Camryn Vaughn, 4th

Dramatic oral interpretation: Jo Zapata-Brown, 3rd; Kailey Metcalf, competed

Impromptu speaking: Kristen Durbin, 10th

Extemporaneous speaking: Nicholas Sweeney, 7th

Lincoln-Douglas debate: Katerina Heiser, 5th; Jane Rooney, competed



Humorous duo: Isaiah Kolar and Jeremy Chalmers, 12th; Silas Watson and Sophie Watson, 5th

Dramatic solo: Alyssa Tombarge, 7th; Lizzy Mentzer, 6th

Dramatic duo: Jessica Bolton and Josie Friesen, 10th

Pantomime: Katelynn Watson, 8th



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