Home: News : Lemont’s Grace Smiles advances to IHSA Speech State Finals

Lemont’s Grace Smiles advances to IHSA Speech State Finals


Lemont's Grace Smiles will make her IHSA Speech State Finals debut after placing third in Dramatic Interpretation at the IHSA Thornwood Sectional.

Lemont High School’s Speech Team will have a representative in state finals competition for the seventh time in 10 seasons. Senior Grace Smiles posted a top-three finish in her category at the IHSA Thornton Sectional on February 10 to earn a berth to the 2018 IHSA Speech State Finals, which will be contested on Friday, February 16, and Saturday, February 17, at the Peoria Civic Center. Smiles will be making her IHSA State Finals debut.

Follow the IHSA Speech State Finals!

Smiles placed third in the Dramatic Interpretation category with her entry, “Choosing Hope.” In the Dramatic Interpretation category, students present literary material from a printed, published source. Smiles placed third in Dramatic Interpretation in regional competition as well.

The 2018 IHSA Speech State Finals will begin in the afternoon on February 16 and conclude on February 17. The top three performers from each of 15 events at the six IHSA Sectionals advance to the IHSA State Finals. All competitors who tie for third place move on to the state finals as well, which gives some events more than 18 entrants.

Lemont finished fifth at the IHSA Reavis Regional and advanced competitors to sectional competition in nine of 15 events. Senior Haley Ercoli earned the team’s lone event win at the regional in the Original Oratory category. Junior Madisyn Lambrakis advanced to the sectional in two categories after finishing fourth in Prose Reading and teaming with senior Alexa Tunzi for a fourth-place finish in Dramatic Duet Acting.

Other sectional qualifiers included senior Emma Potts, who was the runner-up in Impromptu Speaking; senior Saher Rashid, who was third in Informative Speaking; junior Maria Purpura, who was fourth in Poetry Reading; juniors Peyton Jeffress and Richard Moravecek, who teamed for fourth in Humorous Interpretation; and Performance in the Round, which also placed fourth.

Head coach Phil Lazzari’s team won its ninth straight South Suburban Conference-Blue Division title this season, which included a conference runner-up effort from Smiles in Dramatic Interpretation.

Lemont’s best finishes in state finals competition came in 2011, when Delia Ercoli ‘11 was second in Informative Speaking and Aubree Tally ‘13 placed third in Humorous Interpretation. That year, Ercoli became the first Lemont student to qualify for state finals competition in two categories, as she also took part in Oratorical Declamation. Kiara Hardy ‘17 (4th in Oratorical Declamation - 2017) and Ryan Luzzo ‘14 (6th in Prose Reading - 2013) are Lemont’s other state medalists.

Lemont’s other speech state finals qualifiers have included Bryan Carver ‘09 (Humorous Interpretation) in 2009; Tally (Dramatic Interpretation) in 2013; Nick Lambrakis ‘15 (Oratorical Declamation) and Peter Marzano ‘14 (Extemporaneous Speaking) in 2014; Nick Lambrakis (Dramatic Interpretation) and Becca Zagorski ‘15 (Radio Speaking) in 2015; and Devin Becker ‘17 (Prose Reading) and Hailey Jones ‘17 (Informative Speaking) in 2017.

For more information, contact Director of School & Community Relations Tony Hamilton at (630) 243-3280.
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