Soto returns to UIL state competition
Daniel Soto, a sophomore at Poth High School, poses for a profile shot following his May appearance at the State UIL competition at the University of Texas at Austin.
By Cody R. Soto
As another school year draws to a close, Poth sophomore Daniel Soto finishes out another successful UIL run with two state appearances and a bundle of medals to go on his wall.
Daniel competed in prose interpretation, extemporaneous persuasive speaking, one-act play, and congress, a new UIL speech event, under UIL coordinator Tiffany Polasek and coach Amy Lyssy. During district competition, he took first place in each of his events, being named as district champion. He also received an all-star cast award in his district one-act play contest.
“I feel really amazed about my accomplishments but I also feel really tired because it took a lot of work to get there,” Daniel said. “I put in about 24 hours a week practicing and getting ready for meets.”
Daniel went on to compete at regional competition May 1-2 in San Marcos, where he hustled from one event to another, taking home fourth place in prose and third place in persuasive speaking, earning him a spot at the state competition in Austin.
“This year’s excitement going to state was less focused on just going but more focused on competing,” Daniel said. “I was used to competing in only one event last year, so it was a completely different ball game this year going in persuasive speaking so I didn’t know what to expect.”
He also received the UIL Outstanding Student Award at the high school’s annual awards ceremony May 6, becoming the first sophomore to receive the award since 2008. Daniel advanced to state competition last year in prose interpretation as a freshman, becoming a notable face in Austin.
“Daniel was chosen because he exhibited the most dedication, ambition, and execution towards reaching his many goals within UIL,” Polasek said.
Daniel will continue to strive for gold as he has another two years to achieve another state appearance, and with his motivation, he will not disappoint.
“Next year, I definitely want to take more time to attend different practice meets to perfect my speaking skills and compete against tough competitors in hopes of being able to bring home a championship over schools that have bigger speech programs,” he said.
Cody Soto is a Poth High School graduate. He now attends Baylor University.