They were giants: a compilation of top pieces from Illinois’ past…or PIECE IDEAS FOR YOU!

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Forensics results from the past are more than just a nice list of names and statistics. They capture a moment in history when for a brief flicker of time a collection of people were leaders of their art. We might remember and honor the performances and speeches from our days on the circuit, but those results immortalize the grandeur of our predecessors.

A competitor can learn from the skills and inspiration of others; see as many performances as possible and treat these viewings not only as entertainment but also as education. Viewing should not be restricted to the present but, if possible, should also look to the past to see what worked then. There is a reason why these competitors won, and you may be able to incorporate their techniques with yours. Further, sifting through past records of State/National competitors gives you a multitude of source material for finding a piece. A performer can only excel so much with lack-luster material (see “2012” to watch John Cusack attempt to make something of that horrendous script and you instantly will understand that statement). If a competitor placed at State/Nationals then most likely the material played a role.

In honor of past Speechies I have compiled a list of the top Speech competitors of Illinois from the 2000-2001 season. I chose Illinois because:

1. it is my home state
2. if you are reading this to find a piece, looking at past results from a state you do not live in increases the odds of you finding an original piece rarely used in your state (hypothetically)
I also chose the 2000-2001 season for two reasons. First, I really do want to know who/what pieces were winning the year prior to me joining speech. Secondly, it is a distant enough year to hold pieces that are relevant yet “old” enough to possibly not be common on the circuit any longer.

Past Speechies, I salute you!

Dramatic Duet Acting:
1 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Matthew Churilla and Jack Treptow, Shakespeare's R&J
2 Glenview (Glenbrook South), Sarah Lee and David Sargent, Test Tube Lives
3 Oswego, Mike Peters and Adam Poss, Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World
4 Wheaton (North), Colleen Kehoe and Ricky Staub, Black and Blue
5 Maywood (Proviso East), Jennifer Swilley and Devin Tolar, Hunter
6 Lincoln, Allison Leonard and Kyle Pepperell, Echoes

Dramatic Interpretation:
1 Downers Grove (South), Camille Kuthrell, Pretty Fire
2 Glenview (Glenbrook South), Kelly Klein, Crippled Lady
2 Port Byron (Riverdale), Jillian Riewerts, Crippled Lady
4 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Kimberly Downes, My Left Breast
5 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Amber Friendly, Othello
6 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Christine Saba, Closetland
7 Morton, Dan Gerdes, The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me...

Extempore Speaking:
1 Glenview (Glenbrook South), Steven Abramowitz
2 Orland Park (Sandburg), Steve Ford
3 Palatine (Fremd), Amy Buenning
4 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Becky Brandman
5 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Andrew Verstein
6 Harrisburg, Matt Oshel

Humorous Duet Acting:
1 Downers Grove (South), Cristina Panfilio and Jeff Blum, Let's Go Already!
2 Oak Lawn (Community), Marc Palluck and Amy Zavala, Single White Female
3 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Steve LaFontaine and Kyna Forkins, Jerry Finnegan's Sister
4 Wheaton (North), Ricky Staub and Carrie Barnes, Moose Mating
5 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Tamara Joy Fleischer and Stephanie Uzureau, God (from Parallel Lives)
6 Sandwich, Carl Bryan and Ken Young, The Complete History of America (Abridged)
7 Downers Grove (North), Dustin Guzior and Kristin King, The Marriage Counselor
8 Naperville (Neuqua Valley), Danke Scepanovic and Kristin Chirico, Inconceivable

Humorous Interpretation:
1 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Matthew Churilla, The Cat in the Hat
2 Orland Park (Sandburg), Leah Wessman, Best in Show
3 Glenview (Glenbrook South), David Sargent, God, The Ultimate Autobiography
4 Downers Grove (South), Cristina Panfilio, Stay Carl Stay
5 Belleville (East), Aaron Lambert, The Colored Museum
6 Bloomington (H.S.), Rebecca Hamlin, A Midsummer Night's Dream
7 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Rawson Vint, Coming Attractions
8 Harrisburg, Caleb Portee, Coup

Impromptu Speaking:
1 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Andrew Verstein
2 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Dan Knaus
3 Downers Grove (South), Kate Danziger
4 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Emily Holland Barrett
5 Hoffman Estates (Conant), Dan Schier
6 Northbrook (Glenbrook North), Lakshmi Sridharan
7 Downers Grove (North), Megan Rooney

Oratorical Declamation:
1 Naperville (Neuqua Valley), Sarah Popek, At the Old Ballgame
2 Gurnee (Warren), Allison Tibbs, What's Wrong With Black English?
3 Stanford (Olympia), Jessie Dunnan, Still Here
4 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Dan Knaus, Living With The Look
5 South Holland (Thornwood), Kimberly Allen, A Better Looking Dog
6 Benton, Codey Girten, A Reel Doctor's Advice to Some Real Doctors

1 Downers Grove (North), Beth Rooney, Dan: Portrait of a Teenage Cynic
2 Northbrook (Glenbrook North), Natalie Morand, Peter Pan in 2001
3 Stanford (Olympia), Jessie Dunnan, Where Have All the Atticus Finches Gone?
4 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Ariella Omholt, From Me to We
5 Oak Lawn (Community), Amy Zero, Kakorrhaphiophobia
6 Heyworth, Annie Koons, From the Front Porch to the Chat Room

Original Comedy:
1 Harrisburg, Tyler Billman, Exorcise the Demons
2 Lincolnshire (Stevenson), Rebekah Stevens, I'm On a Roll
3 Pekin, Lacy Lowrey, When Weddings Go Bad!
4 Peoria (Woodruff), Scott Pyle, Scottie vs. Big Bird
5 Carbondale, Steve Fanning, Updating Philip Morris' Image
6 Normal (Community), Kenneth Metroff, Getting After It

Prose Reading:
1 Paxton (P.-Buckley-Loda), Seth Bogner
2 Downers Grove (South), Drew Gulley
3 Gurnee (Warren), Megan McCarthy
4 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Chris Connelly
5 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Ariella Omholt
6 Downers Grove (North), Dustin Guzior
7 Lincoln, Allison Leonard

Radio Speaking:
1 Ottawa (Twp.), Tom Lyons
2 Mt. Vernon, Nicholas LeMay
3 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Stephanie Wheatley
4 Canton, Jason Parkinson
5 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Steve LaFontaine
6 Downers Grove (South), Allison Quatrini
7 Oak Lawn (Community), Brian Caster

Special Occasion Speaking
1 Naperville (Central), Mike Mauloff, Living in a Van
2 Glenview (Glenbrook South), Stacey Dembo, Hair's to You
3 Oak Lawn (Community), Amy Zavala, Read Between the Lines
4 Downers Grove (South), Kate Danziger, To the Mattresses!
5 DeKalb, Stephen Fontana, We'll Go Down in History
6 Orland Park (Sandburg), Leah Wessman, Absolutaphobia
7 Olympia Fields (Rich Central), Tahman Bradley, Surf's Up

Verse Reading:
1 Downers Grove (South), Camille Kuthrell
2 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Tom Dunn
3 Orland Park (Sandburg), Kristine Heiting
4 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), Christina Martinez
5 Glenview (Glenbrook South), Sarah Lee
6 Bensenville (Fenton), David Tolemy
7 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), Katie Klipp

Performance in the Round:
1 Dolton (Thornridge), Medea
2 Flossmoor (Homewood-F.), The Hitch Hiker
3 Downers Grove (South), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4
4 Wheaton (W. Warrenville South), Slam!
5 Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest), The Yellow Boat
6 Wheaton (North), The Greatest Generation

Anony's picture

Thank you for posting this. It brings back memories of high school, and all of the hard work that I, and my team put into our art. I hope that this list will keep the tradition alive. Thank you so much again!!

Caleb Portee
8th in the State
Humorous Interpretation.

Wow! I feel like a celebrity commented on this post. Seriously though, thank you and your team for the dedication and drive to place. Without people like you, none of this would be possible.

Congratulations on your achievement.

Anony's picture

I stumbled upon this post and it has brought back both good and bad memories.  My partner and I competed in the HDA Final Round at the very competitive Downers Grove South Sectional that year.  We ended up in 4th place, just barely missing out on the State Tourney.  This post reminded me that not only did we just barely miss beating one of the three teams that made it from that section, but that ALL THREE TEAMS placed in the State Final Round (#1 DGS, #2 Oak Lawn, and #7 DGN), so had we beaten out DGN at sectionals maybe we would have placed at state as well....Le Sigh...all those teams were pretty good.

This story does have a silver lining however...Due to the obvious stresses of a being in a Duet you either end up hating your partner or making out at some point.  For us it was the latter, and after dating for a LONG time, we have now been married for two years.  Who need a stupid Speech State Tourney medal anyway?

(but we were SO it wierd that I am still harping on this almost 10 years later?  Maybe one of our future children will place at state?  Eh, who knows, they will probably be football players.)

Thanks for the memories,

Dan Swiatek (married to Natalie Tinaglia)

4th Place at DGS Sectionals

Humerous Duet Acting

"Little Footsteps" by Ted Tally

Mr. Swiatek--

Your comment brought a massive smile to my face.  It's those types of stories and passion that remind me why I loved being a Speechie so much--and reminds me the Speechie never really leaves you.

I'm sorry you and your wife didn't place.  (I have been in a similar situation; haven't we all by some degree?  I still am sore about it!)  But, as you said, your partnership did bring on the make-out sessions that ended in marriage.  Plus, that area you competed in is ridiculously tough competition (I'm from Tinley).  My opinion?  Any wins in that area are a HUGE accomplishment because every last competitor brings their a-game; often leading some to place at NFL Nationals.  You and your wife are still rock stars anyway.       

Congratulations, and may your children bring home State or even National gold.



Anony's picture

Thank you for bringing back the good ole' day!!!

Anony's picture

Nice page!

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