Metea Valley Speech team breaks yet another record at the state competition

State competitors Saish Pothina and Lauren Verthein perform their HDA piece in a pep assembly days before the tournament.

Aidan Renteria

State competitors Saish Pothina and Lauren Verthein perform their HDA piece in a pep assembly days before the tournament.

Tanay Pant, Spotlight Writer

The Speech Team’s postseason has finally come to a close, and Metea Valley has placed sixth overall at the state tournament held at the Peoria Civic Center. This year’s postseason has been record-breaking for Metea. The regionals tournament saw every single category advance to sectionals, the sectionals tournament saw six categories advance to state, and now Metea has broken yet another record by placing the highest they ever have.

“I want to congratulate all our state qualifiers who contributed to our best ever win of sixth place,” speech captain Tanmay Varshney said.

Varshney took second place in the state for Radio Speaking. He came just one place below becoming state champion in his category. Despite this, he does not feel any grief over his result.

“There is always going to be the feeling of ‘I was so close, just one more place,’” Varshney said. “But you have to remember that it could have been the other way around, too. I am absolutely content with my result.”

Speech captain Peyton Owen also placed second overall for his Dramatic Interpretation performance. He was the only speech competitor from Metea to enter the state tournament double-entered. Owen participated in both Dramatic Duet Acting and Dramatic Interpretation, which are categories that revolve around acting out dramatic scripts written by other people. 

Owen and his partner, Zainab Shaikh, placed fifth for Dramatic Duet Acting.

Another duet category that advanced to state was Humorous Duet Acting, with seniors Saish Pothina and Lauren Verthein performing a satirical and humorous script about modern relationships. The pair placed fourth overall.

“State was an unreal experience, and I wish I took the time to cherish all the time I spent performing there,” Pothina said. “I was excited to see all of our hard work pay off, and it was so worth it!”

According to Pothina, speech can become especially stressful to navigate especially when working alongside a partner with whom your performance hinges on. However, Pothina notes that it is important to put cooperation above ranks.

“At regular tournaments, we remind each other to have fun before we stress out over [our] performance and ranks,” Pothina said. “At state, one of our coaches told us to treat this as a celebration of our work rather than a competition.”

Amara Saleem performed Humorous Interpretation and placed ninth overall at state.

Senior Jonathan Barker took home fifth place overall for Original Comedy, in which one performs an original comedic script where they portray all the characters.

To Varshney, all these awards and achievements could not have happened without the support of the speech team.

“Thank you to everyone who has shown us love and support the past few weeks,” Varshney said. “[It feels great] to end our postseason on an awesome note!”