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Crete Speech Competes at Nationals

Small group of National qualifiers

The National Individual Events Tournament of Champions, otherwise known as NIETOC, is an annual event to celebrate competitive forensics, commonly called speech. NIETOC is an invitation only event, requiring that students attending earn qualifying ‘bids’ to be allowed to participate. This season the Crete High School Speech Team had four such qualified students and they took their talking talents westward, to Denver East High School on May 10th.


Lexy Bodfield (Senior), Noah Keck (Senior), Amy Lopez Hernandez (Junior) and Sabrina Reed (Junior), students from the Crete High School Speech Team, worked hard all season to qualify for the NIETOC. Two finals placings at approved area tournaments throughout the year are required to attend the culminating event in May, and each of these students proved their mettle as the year progressed. On May 10th, under the tutelage of Rachel Haider, Assistant Speech Coach, the team set out on their journey to Colorado to prepare for the competition.


After settling into their hotels and a quick trip to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater on Friday morning, the festivities got underway with the opening ceremonies and the first rounds of competition. Friday stretched late into the night with three rounds of speaking against the best and most-qualified orators in the country. The team returned to the hotel to rest up for more preliminary competition early on Saturday, nervous for finals postings to appear later that morning.


With two days and four rounds of competition under their belts the Crete Speech students waited with bated breath as the names of those advancing beyond preliminary rounds were posted. Excitement ensued when three of the Crete events scrolled across the screen, making this the first year in Crete Speech history that main events have advanced out of preliminary rounds for the team. The Duets of Amy/Sabrina and Lexy/Noah and the Humorous Interpretation of Amy qualified for the octofinal rounds (top 48 nationwide).


The competition in the final rounds was grueling, with the best students in the country facing off against our Crete Cardinals. Ultimately, Amy ran her course in Humorous, being eliminated in the octofinal round, and Lexy and Noah watched as their staunch competition advanced, including two of the eventual semifinalists. The Duet of Amy and Sabrina battled hard during octafinals to move forward to the quarterfinal round, where they met their match, seeing four of their five competitors qualify to the semifinal rounds. Having been knocked out of competition Saturday afternoon the students had the opportunity to sit in on workshops lead by trailblazers in the fields of speech, debate and theatre, took a few hours to explore the nearby portions of Denver and to watch the best of the best compete in the final rounds.


On Sunday morning the students donned their suits for the final time this season, and for some of them in their speech careers, to humbly accept their trophies on stage at Denver East High School and celebrate those that made finals. All in all, Crete Speech had three of a possible five events make the final rounds and tied for 17th place in their division nationwide, the second-highest placing for the Crete Speech Team overall in their tenure at the NIETOC. In addition, Amy and Sabrina earn the first of the two required ‘bids’ for next year’s tournament in both Humorous and Duet, putting them one step closer to repeat appearances.


The Crete Speech Team would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters throughout the year. Foremost, the Crete Public Schools Faculty, Staff, Administration and Board of Education. Without their support, none of this would be possible. We would also like to say a big thank you to our students and parents. So much work goes into perfecting this craft; the time and energy you dedicate does not go unnoticed. And on a personal note, this is my last year as head coach of the Crete Speech team after six years of involvement. It is bittersweet to leave, but it is nice to go on such a high note, and I know the team is in good hands with Rachel Haider. Good luck to future students and I will be watching and cheering from afar!


  • Zachary Mapes