The Saratoga Sun -

By Liz Wood 

Speech team ready to talk it up


Doug Radunich

Your 2013/2014 Carbon County School District No. 2 Speech and Debate Team: Back row, left to right, Jacob Dickinson, Gabby Clutter, John Bauer, Aleck Freeman, Nick Smith, Dylan Baxter, Tylr Kozelisky. Front row: Maya Zeiger, Leam Engel, Gale Jackson, Becca Treat, Kaylyn Wessel, Kat Hytrek, Nina Ford, Bradley Killion and Sierra Schutte.

The Carbon County School District No. 2 Head Speech Coach Brenda Ostendorf is looking forward to the speech season to begin.

At the novice speech meet in Cheyenne several weeks ago, the novice duo of Dylan Baxter and Tylr Kozelisky placed sixth against the bigger schools.

"For a novice team to go up against big guns like Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East and South is pretty amazing," Ostendorf said.

Friday, the rest of the team will find out how they placed against other speech teams in Green River for the first official meet of the season. With six members of her team returning from last year and nine new members, Ostendorf has high hopes.

"We may be getting four more who are planning to join," Ostendorf said. Those speech competitors would compete as novice members.

Ostendorf hopes that every member of the speech team will have an opportunity to break into finals. "Break into finals" is a speech term, which means they have surpassed all of the quarterfinals and semifinals to get into the final match.

Considering more than 100 students are usually competing at these meets, it is a lofty goal for her team.

"The speech team is having fun and they are encouraging other students who are hovering to join them," Ostendorf said.

"We have incredible support from the parents this year," Ostendorf said.

She also has the support of assistant coaches Gayle Wessel and Greg Bush who are in their second years as assistants. Josh Wood, a 2005 high school graduate and former speech member, is also volunteering to help the speech team with student congress.

Former coach LeAnn Uhling is also making guest appearances to help the students prepare for their speech meets.

The speech team practices four nights per week and has the opportunity to make appointments to practice past the designated practice time. Ostendorf said members of the speech team are taking advantage of that time.

"We are very excited about the new categories we are competing in," Ostendorf said. The new categories include student congress, public forum debate and extemporaneous speech.

"Our seniors have set their goals for the year and they want to reach nationals," Ostendorf said. The seniors on the team are Becca Treat, Kaylyn Wessel and Aleck Freeman.

The speech team is working on community fundraisers this year to help with added expenses. "The support has been amazing," Ostendorf said.

During the Carbon County Classic, the speech team had a cookie sale at Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow High School.

"Grandparents came in and purchased cookies," Ostendorf said. "That is an investment of our established community members."

Ostendorf said she has a contsant reminder of the support that HEM speech has had in the past, a podium dedicated in 1947 to the speech team.

"That is strong support," Ostendorf said. She would like to see that kind of support again.

The team consists of students from Encampment, HEM and Saratoga.


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