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Gering speakers finish second at state
April 01, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Courtesy Photo The Gering High School speech team placed second at the Class B state speech tournament in Kearney on March 23. From left are Hadley Kirk, Assistant Coach Andy Stobel, Sydney Havengar, Dawson Johns, Becky Boyd, Tegan Murdock, Allison Baird, Carsyn Long, Collin Potts, Keagan Heilbrun, Devan Hawkins, Head Coach Tyler Thompson and Assistant Coach Kristian Schank.

In spite of being snowed in that evening, 10 Gering High School speakers led the team to a runner-up finish at the Class B state speech tournament in Kearney.

Gering’s competition included about 48 other Class B schools in the March 23 tournament. Once the judging was completed and scores tabulated, Gering’s Tegan Murdock earned first place in the Poetry division. Becky Boyd was first in Informative Speaking and Devan Hawkins took first in Serious Prose. Another first place finish went to the Oral Interpretation of Drama team of Carsyn Long, Allie Baird, Devan Hawkins, Collin Potts and Keagan Heilbrun.

Collin Potts took second place in the Persuasive Speaking division, while Hadley Kirk, in just her first year on the speech team, finished fourth.

Coming off her win in the Informative Speaking division, Becky Boyd took fourth in Entertainment Speaking.

“Phenomenal” is how Coach Tyler Thompson described the meet. “I feel so blessed and privileged. We took nine entries to state and seven of them got into the final round. None of them placed lower than fourth.”

Of those seven finalists, Gering had four state champions. Thompson said that because there were a lot of novices on his young team, he didn’t know how well they would perform as the season progressed.

“I thought this would be a rebuilding year,” he said. “But everything started to gel in the last few weeks of the season. The kids really started to bond with each other and became more like a family than a team.”

Gering’s nine entries was the fourth most entries in the Class B state tournament. York, who took the state title, had eight finalists and beat Gering by just six points overall. Thompson said this was the best finish he’s seen in his eight years of coaching.

“All the kids were very complimentary of the level of competition they were up against,” Thompson said. “The teams from York and Omaha Marian were really strong. So were Ogallala and Gothenburg. Out of our B-6 district came six of the nine state Class B champions. It’s a testament to the strength of our district.”

The speech team will lose six seniors to graduation this spring. All of them were medalists and five were state champions.

Thompson said he still has “a ton” of underclassmen that will return for next year, including 19 freshmen and about 15 sophomores and juniors.
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