While it may not have ended the way they wanted, overall the Waterloo High School Speech team had another stellar season.
Six individual members went to state, as did the team’s Performance in the Round cast.
At state, Maddie Weatherfield placed 17th in impromptu speaking, Charles Davidson placed 12th in original comedy, Drew Totra and Maddie Weatherfield placed 16th in humorous duet acting, Jordyn Kretchmer placed 14th in informative speaking, Eden Stratton placed 10th in extemporaneous speaking and 13th in original oratory and the Performance in the Round cast placed 15th.
Still, WHS Speech Team coach John Rickert was pleased with the year overall.
“I truly feel like this year’s team never gave up, even when it would have been very easy to,” Rickert said. “They battled hard all season long, not just for themselves, but for each other. When you have people like that on your team, regardless of activity or sport – you can’t lose.”
Highlights of the season included finishing fourth at sectionals (best in team history), winning the Harrisburg South Illinois Speech and Acting League Tournament and having seven students rank in the top 25 in southern Illinois, including Stratton and Kretchmer being in a three-way tie as top-ranked speaker in the league.
“It’s an honor and privilege, and an experience I’ll take with me for the rest of my life,” Stratton said of this season. “With that being said, however, the most important part of this opportunity is being able to compete alongside my teammates, as they’ve always been my biggest supporters and a second family.”
That sentiment was echoed by Kretchmer ahead of the state tournament.
“There aren’t exactly words to describe the feeling of making it to this level of competition, and I honestly do not know if I will ever be able to describe it,” Kretchmer said. “I do know, however, how grateful I am to be a part of a team so supportive and loving. This team has been a family to me and for that I am forever grateful.”