Members of DGS speech team qualify for national tournament


Kira Matheson

Faith Nelson and Samantha Wiggins performing at last weekend’s national qualifying tournament.

The DGS speech team competed for several hours on Saturday, March 7, in the national qualifier tournament. The national tournament will be held this summer in Albuquerque, N.M. Students advancing to the national competition are seniors Kira Matheson, Kaej Spears and Stefan Tambik, and juniors Alaina Vergara and Chris Sapinski.

Different from most regular-season tournaments, the national qualifier offers a variety of events that are unlike any others. Additionally, the national qualifier uses a double-downs system, allowing participants to remain in the tournament until being eliminated twice.

Heading into last weekend, Kaej Spears had goals to not only qualify for nationals in his events of Dramatic Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation but also to have an effect in the lives of others.

“I just want to have fun, and I want to express myself and do something that I love. I want to at least touch not only one person but multiple people with my message because there’s other people that feel [certain emotions] but they won’t speak upon it,” Spears said.

Spears was able to use his experience from participating in both the national qualifyier tournament and the national tournament last year, which provided him with a deeper sense of confidence than the year prior.

Sophomore Sydney Richardson competed in her first national qualifier this past weekend. She hoped to grow her skills through this opportunity. Richardson competed in Humorous Interpretation.

“I want to obviously qualify for nationals as well as understand myself as a performer better, how I operate under an entirely new type of pressure and just get some new ideas for how to improve my performance if I do qualify,” Richardson said.

In the two weeks following the state finals, those competing in the national qualifier continued to practice their speeches. Rereading and repetition were just two ways that students readied themselves for the challenge they would face in the tournament.

In preparing for this competition, speech coach Justin Matkovich reflected upon the team’s success from prior moments of the season, including winning the state title in February.

“I just think that the great thing about our team is that there are so many students who are self-motivated to do things. … There are so many students who want to be successful and have this inner drive,” Matkovich said.