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Speech team members qualify for tournament

Seven headed to state

— Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Kayla Murphy waited patiently as the names of state qualifiers were read at last week’s Region 6 speech team qualifying tournament in Montrose.

Murphy was content to applaud those competitors awarded the opportunity to match their skills against some of the best talent the state has to offer when, to her surprise, her name was read.

“I really didn’t think I was going to make it,” Murphy said. “I’m really excited to go.”



Murphy is one of seven speech team members who qualified for the March 21 and 22 state speech tournament to be held at Chatfield High School in Denver.

She will be joined by teammates Julia Patterson, Kelsey Patterson, Beth Ludwig, Lauren Tait, Amanda Toy and Justin Krause.



The seven team members earned their state tournament berths by finishing near the top 20 percent of the field at the Region 6 Qualifying Tournament, where they were pitted against competitors from 14 schools.

At the state tournament, not only will the stakes be higher, but the competition will be tougher, speech coach Shauna Lamansky said.

“There’s typically 500 to 550 competitors from more than 80 schools (at the state tournament),” Lamansky said.

Some of the state’s larger high schools, like Denver’s Cherry Creek High School, field up to 30 competitors.

But it’s not the size of your school that matters, Lamansky said.

“It really comes down to individual talent and individual motivation versus school size,” she said.

Senior Lauren Tait said she has the motivation to finish in the top three at state in her event, oratory.

This year’s tournament marks Lauren’s third trip to the state tournament, and she said she’s tired of coming home empty-handed.

But regardless of how she performs, it feels good just to make it this far, she said.

“It’s good to go my senior year,” Tait said. “States are a lot more competitive. You can tell people have a lot more of a drive at states than they do at other tournaments.”

The seven qualifiers will travel to Denver a day before the tournament begins.

At the tournament, competitors are guaranteed to perform in three preliminary rounds. The top 12 finishers in the preliminary rounds move on to the semifinals. The top six finishers in each semifinal event qualify for the finals. The top three in finals will be awarded trophies.

“We’re really looking forward to states,” Lamansky said.


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