Speech and Drama team excels at state

It would be very difficult to say who was more surprised at the results from the Montana State B-C Speech, Drama and Debate tournament, the students or the coaches.



   Back row (l-r): Jase Rost, Caden Dukart and Dustan Davis. Middle: Isaac Rost, Brianna Rambur and Darby Bettenhausen. Front: Kiana Henneberry and Olivia Mahon.
Back row (l-r): Jase Rost, Caden Dukart and Dustan Davis. Middle: Isaac Rost, Brianna Rambur and Darby Bettenhausen. Front: Kiana Henneberry and Olivia Mahon.


Posted February 7, 2014

By Carole Bettenhausen

It would be very difficult to say who was more surprised at the results from the Montana State B-C Speech, Drama and Debate tournament, the students or the coaches. While the three coaches, Carole Bettenhausen, Alyson Curry and Mike Davis, would be the first to tell you they had high expectations of their students and were confident they would perform well at state, they would also be the first to remind you there are no guarantees in life. At state anything and everything can happen – but not this year. This was the “Dream Team”; the team that had placed first at every meet they attended as a “full team”; the team that defeated numerous Class A schools as well as Class B and C schools; the team that was willing to make a commitment to hours of practice, hours of watching video tape, hours of re-working their performances. All that dedication and commitment paid off at the Montana State Tournament when the drama team won the state championship trophy for the third year in a row! The Spartans finished the state meet with an impressive 93 points, followed by Sweet Grass County with 46 and Columbus with 43. Mrs. Bettenhausen commented that the championship trophy from 2011-12 was won by a margin of only one point.

The tab room at state was very tense after the final rounds of events while coaches waited for the results. All three coaches were finally able to go watch their students in the final round. The first results to come in were from LD Debate. Senior Caden Dukart had survived a first round loss to make it to the final round where he faced some tough competition from a Missoula Loyola debater. Caden’s parents were there to watch his final debate, and they felt pretty good about his performance. We all know that judges can see things differently, but not this time. All three judges were unanimous in awarding Caden the win, and the first place medal.

Next it was Classical Duo. Both Mrs. Bettenhausen and Ms. Curry had gone to the finals for Classical Duo and they agreed that senior Darby Bettenhausen and freshman Isaac Rost had given an outstanding performance and they did not see any way possible these two would not be victorious – they were right. Darby and Isaac had gone into finals in first place and they received two perfect scores from the judges in finals. Darby and Isaac, who performed a George Feydeau cutting about the disagreements a married couple have, completely blew away all the competition at the state finals.

Mr. Davis had gone to watch Dustan Davis and Jase Rost perform in Humorous Duo, and he was convinced the two had delivered their best performance ever, and he was right! Juniors Dustan and Jase became the Spartans’ third champions with their unique comical parody of the Shakespearean tragedy “Macbeth”. Junior Brianna Rambur and sophomore Olivia Mahon had a lot of “cheerleaders” in their final round who reported another outstanding performance, and those cheerleaders were right … the Spartans’ fourth state championship! Brianna and Olivia performed an original serious duo written by Olivia that highlights the dangers of bullying and school shootings. Now it was down to waiting for Serious Solo. Senior Kiana Henneberry’s scores were late coming in, and while the scores weren’t perfect, they were good enough to cinch her state championship! Kiana’s piece, “Rosie the Teddy Bear”, depicts the knowledge a teddy bear has of an abused child.

Every single Baker student who made it to the final round won the first place trophy for that event. In all the events, the students faced 17 other competitors from across the state to win the right to be crowned state champions. In all finals except debate, there are seven other top students who also vie for the top award. Debate features two students, one on one.

We can’t forget all the other Baker students who also competed and earned points to help secure the championship trophy. The two newest debaters, Wyatt Perry and Donald Austin, also had an outstanding meet and their wins helped the speech team finish seventh out of 48 teams. In addition, freshman Jaden Miller had an impressive state meet. She made it to the semi-finals and finished in the top ten in Original Oratory. Sophomore Makenzy Shipstead competed in Memorized Public Address and although she did not make it to the semi-final round, she had outstanding performances in the first four rounds and gained invaluable experience.

On the drama side, freshmen Taiken Goerndt and Megan Greiff qualified for the semi-final round of Classical Duo and narrowly missed making it to the final round. Both Mrs. Bettenhausen and Ms. Curry were in agreement these two should have been in finals, they were that good. Two other freshmen, Savannah Davis and Moriah Kesinger, had competed for most of the season in Humorous Duo, however, after a great deal of thought, it was decided their talents would be better used in Serious Duo so they changed events in January. Despite their last minute change, these two young women also managed to break to the semi-final round.

There were two alternates who also traveled to state with the team hoping to somehow get a chance to compete. Freshman Anna Espeland, who had competed in the very difficult event Humorous Solo and placed eighth at divisionals, and sophomore Buddy Shaw, who had placed seventh at divisionals in Impromptu, did not get a chance to compete at state, but they were instrumental in cheering on their teammates to an impressive state championship.

The following quotes sum up the thoughts and feelings of the 2013-14 state champions.

“While I was really happy to get first place, overall it was more about having fun,” Dustan Davis.

“Never underestimate the power of crazy people in large groups,” Olivia Mahon.

“I’m really proud to have been part of an organization for the past four years that has given me way more abilities, academically as well as socially, to succeed in the world,” Caden Dukart.

“I did it for the ladies,” Isaac Rost.

“It was great,” Darby Bettenhausen.

“Never underestimate yourself,” Jase Rost.