Flucos win 6th state championship in speech

Flucos win 6th state championship in speech

By Matthew Gresham
Fluvanna High School journalist

The Fluvanna County High School speech team took home its sixth state championship in eight years on March 23 at Dominion High School.

1st: Kessler Potter, Extemporaneous Speaking;

1st: Amina Seiden, Original Oratory;

1st: Angela Cumiskey, Poetry;

1st: Townes Mullinex and Abby White, Serious Duo;

2nd: Allison Monfalcone, Humorous Interpretation;

2nd: Tomas Cruz Vega, Storytelling;

3rd: Samantha Carter, Storytelling.

“Overall, I felt a sense of pride,” said FCHS senior and captain Allison Monfalcone on the emotions of winning the championship. “Winning states was what we had worked for all year, and to see everyone do so well–and for the team I helped lead to succeed–was an amazing experience,” she added.

The team’s season started back in the fall. It was a long and challenging season for these Flucos, but it appears that their work paid off.

 “We started competing in late October and working on our pieces in August, so it was more of a gradual preparation with the overall goal of getting to and competing in states,” said FCHS sophomore Maddy Cavanaugh.

Coach Craig Edgerton, who is in his 12th year of coaching the speech team at FCHS, said the team continues to build on its own strengths. “The key to our success is the quality of our team members, especially our captains. I couldn’t be more proud of how our team worked together and our captains worked to ensure everyone grows. My goal was never to win. My goal was, and is, to help each student be the best that they can possibly be.” 

Edgerton added, “Every year brings new challenges, but the expectations never change. Each student has to ask themselves, ‘What do I want to accomplish?’ and ‘What do I need to do to get there?’ Once they know that, then the captains get to work to help each other.” 

What is it like competing in speech? “My category deals with current events, and it’s interesting to see how other people feel about what’s going on in the world today. In addition, all of our speeches are prepped and written in half an hour, so seeing how people think on their feet and retain their confidence even when they have no clue what they are talking about is very inspiring,” said senior Kessler Potter. 

Potter added that “Everyone on the team has their unique energy, but we’ve spent so long together that we know how to feed off of each other and keep energy levels high. Everyone is also very supportive of everyone else, so when results come in, there’s a lot of cheering each other on.”

This competition had one major difference for students competing in Extemporaneous Speaking. The competitors were not allowed to view who they were competing against, which was a first. “It really made me more nervous. I’m used to watching my competitors and comparing my speech to theirs, but this competition I was going in completely blind,” said Potter. “All my team members got to see their competitor’s piece and how the judges reacted, but I was going off what my competitors said. When awards happened, I was on the edge of my seat, especially when my biggest competition got second.”

In addition to winning the state’s team award, Fluvanna also earned the 2013-2023 NSDA Leading Chapter Award for Excellence in Speech and Debate. Coach Edgerton won the 2024 NFHS Outstanding Speech Educator Award for Section 2, which includes the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. 

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