Tom Zbyszewski, a student at Liberty Bell High School in Methow Valley, placed first in Thursday’s Poetry Out Loud competition.
Langston Ward, a student at Mead High School who won the state competition last year, placed second.
Both will compete in state finals in Tacoma on March 9.
Zbyszewski, of Carlton, Wash., recited “Golden Retrievals” by Mark Doty and “Famous” by Naomi Shibab Nye, Get Lit! assistant coordinator Karen Maner wrote in an email.
“One of Tom’s greatest strengths was his ability to use his entire body to capture the mood of the poem,” Maner said. “His hands were constantly moving, emphasizing certain words and almost pantomiming others, but it was never distracting or overdone.”
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created Poetry Out Loud to encourage students to engage with literature. In Spokane, the regional finals were hosted by Get Lit!, the literary festival organized by Eastern Washington University.