Scouts successful in pursuit of State Speech Championship

Courtesy Photo
The speech team accepts their Class C-1 championship trophy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on March 23. David City won with 156 points, defeating opponent Omaha Brownell-Talbot by 36 points.

Becca Meusch

Claiming their second State Championship within the past three years making it their sixth overall, the Scout Speech team took home the gold in Class C-1 on March 23 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney with 156 points, followed by rival Brownell-Talbot with 120 points.

Weeks before, Brownell-Talbot beat the Scouts at the Norfolk Panther Classic Tournament after the Scouts won Conference for the ninth consecutive year. Coming back with fire, the Scouts claimed Districts at Raymond Central, in which three of the top five teams at State competed.

“I felt like we had a strong team with a great opportunity, but so many things can go wrong at State Speech, so I would never say that I am overly confident,” Head Coach Jarod Ockander said. “I try to get my team to perform the best they can, after that, it is out of our hands.”

The Scout Speech team brought 12 events to State. Qualifiers included: seniors Trisha Hruska in Informative and Persuasive, Nicole Buntgen in Poetry and Entertainment, and Riven Prochaska in Humorous; junior Becca Meusch in Serious and Poetry; freshmen Laurel Ockander in Persuasive, Carter Ossian in Extemporaneous, and Macy Svoboda in Informative. For the group events, senior Maya Peirce and sophomore Jackson Hardin qualified in Duet, and seniors Pierce, Sabra Moore, junior Nathan Kovar, and sophomores Hardin and Brooke Bell qualified in Oral Interpretation of Drama.

We wanted to be a deep team so that we could take 18 events to the District contest that had a shot at medaling at State. I think we were able to do that,” Jarod Ockander said. “We also qualified three freshmen, which shows that the young people are performing more like veterans than rookies.”

Although the non-medalists almost broke finals at State, Svoboda, Ossian, and Prochaska still continued to help the team score. The Scouts brought nine to finals ahead of Brownell-Talbot who brought seven, and Raymond Central and Louisville who each had four finalists.

Bringing home their own gold hardware, state champions included Hruska in both Informative and Persuasive, and the OID of Pierce, Moore, Kovar, Hardin, and Bell. Other State medalists included Buntgen, second in Entertainment and Poetry, Meusch, second in Serious and fifth in Poetry, Laurel Ockander, second in Persuasive, and Hardin and Peirce, fifth in Duet.

“Being a double State Champion is a huge reward because I knew I couldn’t have done any better. The feeling last year after getting first in Informative was amazing, and I knew I wanted that feeling of accomplishment again,” Hruska said. “Speech has literally changed my life. Speech has taught me not only to have confidence in my performance, but to also have confidence in myself, and nobody or nothing else could have done that. I am just very grateful that I’ve been able to end my senior year with the best team and the best coaches.”

The OID of Peirce, Moore, Kovar, Hardin and Bell was the second OID in David City High School history to receive first place at the State Tournament. The 2012 State Champion OID team also had the same script: Hercules. Moore said when she was in middle school, she remembers the 2012 team performing and that’s what had led her to participate in speech.

“At the beginning of the season we were acting like a bunch of little girls—we did not get along at all. We worked through our differences, switched some characters up and we were good. We made tweaks and changes from theirs [2012 OID], but we performed like them with the same integrity,” Moore said. “My team and I have practiced countless hours to get to where we ended. I always gave it my all in each performance, and when you work long and hard enough results will show, and I’d say I saw the results. I wouldn’t want to win with any other team, and I most certainly wouldn’t want any other team to laugh and smile with.”

Ockander said it was a rewarding way to end the year with a State Championship. Looking forward to next season, he says the challenge will be to put another championship team together.

“We did a lot of practicing, but what was also important was team bonding. After practice we would just talk and connect as friends,” Hardin said. “This season had a rollercoaster of emotions but it was all worth it in the end. I could not pick a better team to be on than this one.”