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Speech and debate team enjoys success at state meet

by by EVELYN VIGIL for the Bigfork Eagle
| February 1, 2024 10:40 AM


Bigfork’s speech, debate and drama partners Jake Baldi and Olivia Close took first place at state in Columbia Falls on Saturday with their humorous piece entitled “Romeo and Juliet”, the musical.

As a whole, the team has done quite well at their meets this year. Most notably, Baldi and Close were division champions as well as state champs, while Cy Devlin and Madi Pomeroy took eighth place in duo interpretation with their piece, “The History of America,” at divisionals. 

Pomeroy also competed in impromptu and was a first alternate for state. 

Baylee Erikson received tenth for her original oratory “For the Love of Reading.”

According to Close, there were several memorable moments this season, most notably when her drama partner, Baldi, attempted to try on her corset.

“He then managed to get himself stuck... in the middle of a hallway. Everyone who walked down the hallway saw him and began to laugh,” she recalled. “Then, a girl walked past, shook her head, and said ‘average speech and debate activities.’ Luckily we got him unstuck without ruining my corset.” 

Kris Burggraf, who has participated in speech and debate for three years, competed in humorous interpretation where he delivered a speech from Roald Dahl’s version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”  

Burggraf added that being on the team is a lot more fun than many students realize. 

“It’s a really really fun club to join. You get a lot out of it — what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it,” he said. “And, the coach is awesome!”

In spite of their success this season, Close was still nervous heading into last week’s state meet.

“[At state,] we’re going against sixteen other groups, when the most we’ve gone against is six. Our act is very good, in my opinion, but I have no clue how good our competitors are going to be,” confided Close as she looked forward to the competition. 

Despite lacking competition in their category (humorous theatre) at the beginning of the season, Close is proud of their wins.

“Both me and my partner are ecstatic about our standing [at state]. We genuinely didn’t think we were going to get first, because there were some incredible skits,” she said.

“I know our school is more sports heavy, but [speech and debate] is a genuinely amazing experience,” Close said. “Yes, you have to get up early. Yes, you have to speak in front of a group of people. Yes, it can be somewhat embarrassing. But once you get to that first meet, you’re practically in a whole new world.”

Burggraff agreed.

“With perseverance you will eventually reach your goal, if you just keep on trying,” he said.