April 26, 2023 at 5:35 p.m.
Three from speech team to compete April 29 in Apple Valley
Sauk Centre High School is once again sending speech team students to state: senior Sydney Zollman and juniors Christopher Polipnick and Luke Middendorf. The prospect of advanced competition may be taxing on the nerves, but the trio is receiving advice and working on their performances in preparation.
“I am really excited for Luke, Chris and especially Sydney, since it’s her senior year,” said Annie Sorenson, head speech coach. “They have all worked so hard this season, and all of that hard work is paying off. I am beyond proud to have these students representing Sauk Centre High School at the state competition.”
The state competition is Saturday, April 29, at Eastview High School in Apple Valley, with rounds starting at 10:15 a.m.
The students earned their spots at state through their first-place finishes at section competition April 15 at New London-Spicer High School in New London. Zollman’s category is dramatic interpretation. When she placed first in her category and learned she would be going to state, she was excited because it meant her speech season would continue.
“I remember keeping a mellow look on my face while on stage, but my heart was smiling so big,” Zollman said.
Middendorf and Polipnick competed in duo interpretation. While happy with their performance, both felt they had room for improvement – and so it was phenomenal for them when their names were called for first place.
“It feels exciting yet somber to be going to state since it’s just three of us competing rather than our entire team,” Middendorf said. “Part of the fun is competing alongside the rest of the team.”
This will be the first time any of the three have competed in the state speech competition, although all of them were in the cast of the high school one-act play “Dark Road” when it received a starred performance at state. Polipnick has also been to state in football, but like his other teammates, he sought advice from past speech competitors while preparing for Saturday.
“The biggest piece of advice from those who have gone is to be confident but not arrogant,” Polipnick said. “It feels great to make it to state, like all our hard work is finally paying off.”
When Zollman thinks about the state competition, it makes her want to keep practicing her speech. It has a darker subject matter, so she also watches dramatic movies and similar material to hone her style.
“I think speech has to be one of the most nerve-wracking activities I have ever participated in, but I very much enjoy it,” Zollman said. “The nerves are kicking in, especially in the week leading up to the big Saturday, but more than anything, I just feel blessed to have the coaches and extra help I’ve had that got me to this point.”
As they prepare for competition, Zollman, Middendorf and Polipnick are eager to represent their school and possibly bring home more awards before the academic year concludes.
“We are sharpening our pieces in every area we can, making sure we have good health and our nerves are ready,” Polipnick said. “I am looking forward to the accomplishment of putting in the last of our effort to finish the season in the way best possible.”