Speech team places sixth in state

Senior named champion in Poetry Reading


Seniors Hannah Dalinka (left) and Jack Miller perform their dramatic duet at the Speech Showcase & Awards Night on March 14. They placed fourth in their event at the IHSA Speech State Final on Feb. 18. Photo by Ruby Werber

After being named the state champion in Poetry Reading, senior Kristin Yun was given the opportunity to perform one more time at the IHSA Speech State Final. Upon accepting her award, Yun performed in a ballroom in front of everyone at the tournament.

“For me, [performing the speech again] was saying, ‘I am extremely grateful that I can tell this story one more time, that I have a platform to tell my story and so many other people’s stories as well,’” Yun said.

Yun participated in the Poetry Reading and Original Oratory events at state. For Poetry Reading, she took excerpts from different poets to create a cohesive story about her experiences with relationships and love.

The speech followed the story of a relationship that was not perfect and a character that had a lot of inner turmoil, Yun said.

“I think that it’s a topic that is complex and not always covered,” Yun said.

Nine members of the speech team competed at state on Feb. 18 in Peoria, Ill. Competitors who placed fifth or higher include Yun who placed first in Poetry Reading, junior Jenna Horwitch who placed third in Special Occasion Speaking, seniors Jack Miller and Hannah Dalinka who placed fourth in Dramatic Duet Acting and junior Alex McGarry who placed fifth in Prose.

“We accumulated so many points in the final round that, as a team, we placed sixth overall as a school, and [placing sixth or higher] hasn’t happened since 1998,” head coach Sarah Ilie said. 

To qualify for state, competitors must place in the top four at regionals and the top three at sectionals for their event.

Although the team was successful at state, competitors needed to do well at the National Speech & Debate Association District Tournament to qualify for the 2023 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Phoenix, Ilie said.

“Just because you did well at state doesn’t mean that you automatically get to go to nationals,” said Ilie. “You have to compete again.” 

Eight team members qualified at districts on March 5, and they plan to compete at nationals in June.

“This season, I was very fortunate and extremely grateful for my coaches as well as the other people on the team in which they created an environment that was so conducive for great storytelling and also being very kind with each other,” said Yun. “That’s something that was very unique about this year in particular.”