Coalers speak their way to state



Coal City High School’s Speech Team will be well represented at the Illinois High School Association [IHSA] State Speech Finals this week as five students have advanced in five speaking categories and the 10 member Performance in the Round team will take part in this state series only event.


Madison Wilson, a junior, is headed to state in two categories. She was the sectional champion in radio and finished third in dramatic interpretation. 


The top three finishers at the sectional tournament advance to compete at the state finals held annually at the Peoria Civic Center. This year’s tournament gets underway on Friday, Feb. 16 and concludes with an evening awards ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 17. 


The humorous duet acting team of seniors Adaline Dowling and Kevin McConnell finished third and will compete at state with their selection titled “The Marriage Counselor.”


Corinna Barkley, a junior, earned a third place finish in special occasion speaking with her selected title, “Bread Crumbling: Feels Crummy.”


Sophomore Grey Vanek is taking her selection, “Drugs are Bad,” to state in the category of humorous interpretation.


There are a total of 14 speaking categories in speech and when it comes to the state series the IHSA adds a 15 category known as Performance in the Round [PIR]. It’s a team event and this year, the Coalers have 10 students who will perform their selected piece, “Murder, Mayhem and Betrayal!” at state. The PIR team comprised of Adriana Esparza, Anthony Royster, Bradley Burla, Caroline Childers, Jada Moore, Juliet Covington, Karli Pierson, Mackenzie Brown, Vincent Mugnolo and Grace Heatherwick finished third at the sectional. 


As a team the Coalers finished third at the sectional meet held Saturday, Feb. 10 at Morris Community High School.  In addition to the state qualifiers, the sectional team was comprised of Giovanni Bruno, Jordan Olson, Jacob Cimino, Dominic Cimino, Debroah Lynch, Chessa Kuhel and Melody Kinder. 


The dramatic duet acting team of Giovanni Bruno and Jordan Olson finished fourth, Deborah Lynch was fourth in informative speaking, Adaline Dowling was fifth in prose, Jacob Cimino as fourth in extemporaneous speaking, Chessa Kuhel finished sixth in poetry and Kevin McConnell was a finalist in original comedy. 

Unlike other IHSA sanctioned activities, speech does not have classifications so all competitors—no matter school size or geographic location—are on the same playing field. The Coalers are ranked among the top 20 teams in the state.