Wolverines and Rebels perform at state speech

GMG large group speech students competing at the state contest in Garwin on Feb. 6 include, front row (L-R): Chloe Cornwell, Frances Jackson, Kaci Krier, Chloe Wickham, Lindsey Kohn, Angel Schewe; back row: Wyatt Jackson, Owen Bovenmyer, Joaquin Fitzsimmons and Noah Teske; not pictured: Lily Harris. Darvin Graham/Sun Courier

The large group speech season reached its conclusion with a state contest that looked quite different from years past.

Under normal circumstances participants from 20 or more school districts would converge at a handful of regional locations to hold their district and state contests.

The environment had always been uniquely energized with high school performers, coaches and family bustling throughout the hallways of the host district school building.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic requiring socially distanced gatherings, the state speech association modified the speech contest guidelines to allow schools three options for participating in the 2021 contests.

Teams could perform in-person at a local school site, virtually at a local school site or virtually at the IHSSA State Office site.

Both Gladbrook-Reinbeck and GMG teams performed in-person for their district and state contests.

GMG hosted a contest in Garwin on Feb. 6 along with East Marshall. The Wolverines qualified four speech events for the state contest, with three events receiving all Division 1 ratings.

The events with Division 1 ratings include: Group Improv, “Threedom of Speech”, Kaci Krier, Joaquin Fitzsimmons and Owen Bovenmyer; Radio Broadcast, “WWTW”, Frances Jackson, Chloe Cornwell and Wyatt Jackson; Group Mime, “Carnival Capers”, Joaquin Fitzsimmons and Owen Bovenmyer. Receiving one Division 1 rating and two Division 2 ratings was Reader’s Theater, “How to Kill a Mockingbird”, Linsey Kohn, Chloe Cornwell, Chloe Wickham, Lily Harris, Frances Jackson, Noah Teske, Angel Schewe and Kaci Krier.

The Rebels traveled to Union High School on Feb. 8 to compete in-person alongside Union and Hudson. The Rebels sent three qualifying events to the state contest.

“The students definitely missed the hustle and bustle of a larger contest, but they were grateful to be able to compete,” G-R speech coach Greg Tessendorf said. “Everyone was pleased with how Union High School ran the contest, and even more pleased that we were able to have an audience for the performers.”

Joaquin Fitzsimmons (left) and Owen Bovenmyer practice their Group Mime piece titled “Carnival Capers” on Feb. 6. Darvin Graham/Sun Courier

Danny Gleissner and Emma Fleshner received three Division 1 ratings in Group Improv. Their situation they drew was “First day of work at a fast food restaurant”.

Zane Stice, Paul Brockett and Wesley Latchman received two 1 ratings and one 2 rating in Group Improv. Their situation was “When plants talk back”.

Brooke Peterson, Katie Clark and Karlie a Rickert received one 1 rating and two 2 ratings in Ensemble Acting. They performed scenes from the play “Harvey” by Mary Chase.

The All-State Speech Festival event has been canceled for 2021, although students are still eligible to receive All-State honors. State speech judges completed All-State nominations as normal and those events chosen for All-State will be announced on Feb. 17 via the IHSSA website.

Students selected for large group All-State honors will still have the opportunity to purchase 2021 All-State apparel and a banner to hang at their school.

GMG’s Radio Broadcast group “WWTW” received straight D-1 ratings at state on Feb. 6. Pictured are, from left, Chloe Cornwell, Wyatt Jackson and Frances Jackson Darvin Graham/Sun Courier

GMG’s Reader’s Theater group practices their, “How to Kill a Mockingbird” piece on Feb. 6. Pictured are, from left, Noah Teske, Frances Jackson, Chloe Wickham, Linsey Kohn, Angel Schewe, Kaci Krier and Chloe Cornwell. Darvin Graham/Sun Courier