The Pacific High School speech team has become accustomed to winning.
The team captured its seventh consecutive Four River Conference championship title this year. The last loss for Pacific in a conference meet was January 2008, according to Ed Kappeler, speech team sponsor.
Pacific also won eight of the 10 individual conference championships, and seven team members qualified for the state tournament.
Of the 123 schools in the state tournament, Pacific qualified more individual entries than 113 of those schools. Only four schools qualified more to the finals than Pacific, Kappeler said.
Pacific was the only school in the Four Rivers conference to qualify for individual events at the state finals.
Individual events in Missouri include Radio Speaking, Original Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, Prose Reading, Poetry Reading, Storytelling, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation and Duet Acting.
Kappeler, who has been speech team sponsor for 12 years, said the 2014 school year was the best ever for individual events.
“Out of 10 possible championships, Pacific won eight,” Kappeler said “Everyone who advanced to final rounds qualified. We had seven events and eight students for the state tournament, which was most ever for Pacific High School.
Kappeler noted the experience of Sarah Thompson, conference champion for radio speaking, who was up against the student who won last year and went to state finals.
One of the judges commented, “That girl could be working on radio today.”
Joe Haley, the only senior on the team, got better every day, Kappeler said. He did not compete as a freshman, but has competed ever since. He qualified for state — the only Pacific High School student to do that twice.
Andrew Groom and Claire Blythe competed as a duet acting, finishing third in the state.
“One of the three judges ranked them first in the room.” Kappeler said. “They don’t like to finish second or third. I can tell they’ll be back next year.”