Five members of the Steamboat Springs High School speech team will match their skills against the best competition in the state.
Stephanie Engle, Dana Schlingman, Ashley Lopez, Suzie Ford and Travis Mouffe earned spots in the Colorado State Speech Tournament in Littleton after strong individual performances at a state qualifying tournament held Feb. 18 and 19 in Durango.
Four other Sailors -- Patrick Kuczkowski, Marty Ludwig, Katelyn Stokes and Austin Anderson -- were named first alternates for the state tournament.
"We were within a whisker of getting nine people (to state)," team co-coach Marty Lamansky said. "We did well. We're looking forward to the state tournament."
Twelve team members traveled to Durango for the state-qualifying tournament two weeks ago. The team spent 20 hours covering 920 miles by school bus on the roundtrip journey to the southwest corner of the state.
"We spent more time on the bus than at the tournament," Lamansky said. "I think that makes it really hard. It was exhausting."
Nonetheless, many of the Sailors performed well at the tournament, which featured competitors from 12 regional schools.
Engle, competing in Lincoln-Douglas debate, finished with a record of 4-0. Ford was the top qualifier in the poetry event, and Mouffe was the top qualifier in the humorous interpretation event. Schlingman qualified in original oratory. A pleasant surprise was the performance of freshman Lopez, who qualified in foreign extemporaneous speaking.
Kuczkowski, who dominated the foreign extemporaneous speaking event at many tournaments throughout the season, fell just short of qualifying for state.
"That's the nature of playoffs," Lamansky said. "You have one tournament to go on to the next level."
Like Kuczkowski, Ludwig, Stokes and Anderson narrowly missed earning automatic berths in the state tournament. The team of Ludwig and Stokes was named first alternate in the duo interpretation event. Anderson was named first alternate in original oratory. The alternates will be asked to compete in the state tournament if any of the qualifiers from Steamboat's region withdraw before the March 18 and 19 tournament held at Columbine High School.
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