David City High School’s speech team was greeted by a few dozen supporters at Fourth and E Streets on Thursday night as they drove back into town with the State Class C-1 Speech Championship trophy.
The Scouts celebrated the team’s 7th state championship since 2006 and its second in a row. It was the third C1 title in four years, with the stretch of titles interrupted by a 2015 runner-up finish – in Class B.
The victory at the University of Nebraska at Kearney was convincing, a 202- to 106-point margin over runner-up Malcolm. Last year’s runner-up, Omaha Brownell Talbot was third with 94 points. It was the first year the Scouts scored more than 200 points.
A sheriff’s deputy cruiser with lights flashing and a blaring David City Volunteer Fire Department truck escorted the team’s vehicles once around the Courthouse Square before the entire crowd made its way to the DCHS Commons Area.
Once inside the team made its entrance to applause of parents and some of their former teammates, some who also enjoyed the six previous speech championships under Coach Jarod Ockander.
Principal Cortney Couch had the room set up for a few words. With Ockander still in Kearney to serve as a judge for Friday’s Class A and D competition, assistant coach Bailey Svoboda introduced the team along with assistant coach Elizabeth Hruska.
“They worked so hard all season, but today, they showed what a good team they are,” Svoboda said.
Senior Becca Meusch talked about the commitment of keeping the DCHS speech tradition alive.
“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Meusch said. “We are (practicing) from after school until 9:30 at night, even later. It’s crazy how much work we have put into it. We have showed so much passion. You can tell when we give our speeches. It definitely shows when you look at the results, cause look at us.”
She praised the leadership of Ockander and assistant coaches, plus former team members who spend some time with the team.
“Every alumni who comes back to help is seriously a blessing for them to carry out the tradition,” she said.
Iris Prochaska was next: “We really gave it our all and I think you are the best team ever.”
Will Heller added his words before the pictures were taken.
“I’m proud of all of you guys and I’m proud to be on this team. I can’t wait to see what next year brings,” he said.
Svoboda said the community support was special for the speech program.
“We are so blessed to live in a wonderful community that is so supportive of our speech team,” she said.
David City won five events and collected 12 medals, with Jackson Hardin and Bethany Tebbe picking up a pair of golds each.
Hardin was first in poetry interpretation and teamed with Heller to win duet acting.
Laurel Ockander took first in persuasive speaking and fourth in extemporaneous speaking, and Tebbe was named champion in informative speaking.
The Scouts' final gold came in oral interpretation of drama, where Brooke Bell, Evan Forney, Iris Prochaska, Sarah Wolfenden and Tebbe teamed up for first.
Rebecca Meusch added a second-place finish in poetry interpretation and fifth-place performance in serious interpretation. Macy Svoboda was second in persuasive speaking and third in informative speaking.
Prochaska took fourth in humorous interpretation, and Forney and Ashley Roemmich were sixth in duet acting. Heller finished 14th in humorous interpretation.
The Columbus Telegram contributed to this report.