I figured that now that I'm off of the extemp scene in Kentucky I now have the impartiality to rank the top five extempers across the state and what a better day to do it than the first day of August? Here's a history of pre-season number ones since I started the list my freshman year (although never released on the Internet):
2000-2001 Season---Lexi Menish (Assumption)
2001-2002 Season---Nicole Hawk (LaRue County)
2002-2003 Season---Logan Scisco (Danville)
2003-2004 Season---Logan Scisco (Danville)
2004-2005 Season---????????? (?????)
Well without further adieu here are my pre-season rankings (which I hope can be updated throughout the year when results filter in):
5th---Rebekah Allen (Bethlehem)
Reason: Qualified for CFL Nationals last year with a fourth place finish at CFL Districts. The first exposure to a national tournament usually means good things for an upcoming season and since Allen has been in KHSSL State Extemp finals in 2003 she also has that going for her.
4th---David Stroup (Danville)
Reason: Defending champion of the Henry Clay Speak of the Devil Classic this year and a consistent finalist at many tournaments. The question that remains is whether Danville's extemp squad will have a revival of firepower after losing four of its key extempers over the last two years (Joel Meister, Bill Ellis, Logan Scisco, and Adam Hoover). Stroup might be fighting alone for Danville this season but its a season that has definite promise for Stroup to finally make KHSSL state finals and/or qualify for CFL & NFL Nationals.
3rd---Ashley Adkins (Rowan County)
Reason: This sophmore student from Rowan County is my dark horse pick of the year for the Kentucky extemporaneous scene and probably won't start making any waves (if those comes about) until the end of the year when Rowan comes out in force for "March Madness." Adkins was in KESDA Extemp finals garnering a fourth place finish although I thought she won the round. While seeing her speak I saw a lot of comparisons I could draw between her style and that of Kelli Trent who was without question the best KY extemper in 2002. Just don't be surprised if this young and talented extemper makes her way into the mix of things for KESDA & NFL Districts and takes down some of the best competitors in the process.
2nd---Brice Acree (LaRue County)
Reason: Acree came onto the extemp circuit and was a consistent finalist. He also did well in March by finaling at KESDA (placing third) and qualifying for CFL Nationals & NFL Nationals (in IX). Acree also was invited to the Barkley Forum and made quarter-finals at CFL Nationals as well as octo-finals at NFL in International Extemp. The main rivarly this year will be between Acree and Courtney Otto for the top extemp spot in the state but of course other extempers could enter into the fray with improvement in the off-season. Acree's defeat of Otto at NFL Districts in both the USX & IX categories foreshadows a good rivalry for the coming season and it should be interesting to watch both of them trade blows at the many prelimary tournaments and in March.
1st---Courtney Otto (Kentucky Country Day)
Reason: Yeah like this wasn't predicted when you started reading this post. Otto has been a consistent force in Kentucky since her freshman year when she placed third at the 2002 KHSSL State tournament and then finished second in 2003. She finaled at every March tournament she attended last year winning CFL Districts (to qualify for nationals), finishing second @ KESDA, and finishing 3rd in the USX & IX categories at NFL Districts. Otto won the CFL National tournament in extemporaneous speaking and finished third at NFL in USX (winning the final round to make KY the first state ever to have two USX final round winners and the only state to thus far win the Professor's Plate back-to-back). The one item missing on Otto's resume, though, is a state championship (and I only count KHSSL unless I decide to make an exception like I did for Kelli Trent when she assassinated the field at KESDA in 2002) and she's been close on numerous occassions finishing behind Nicole Hawk in 2002 & Logan Scisco in 2003. Otto didn't attend KHSSL last year but hopes to do so this year which should lead to a nice showdown with Acree for the 2005 KHSSL state crown.
Well that's my take on the current position of KY extemp this year. What do you all think?