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The Mitchell High School speech and debate team is off to a strong start this season, says coach Ron Grimsley. (Submitted Photo)

MHS speech and debate team does well in area events

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The Mitchell High School debate and speech team is off to a good start so far.

"We have had a very successful beginning to our debate and speech season with numerous awards brought back by members of our squad," speech and debate coach Ron Grimsley said. "The first half of our season is at a close and our squad has surpassed all of my expectations thus far; at each tournament we have been well represented in final rounds with several students bringing home plaques and trophies for their winning efforts.

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"The second half of the season contains many of the most competitive tournaments of the year, so our squad is pushing hard to keep the successes coming," Grimsley said.

Here's a rundown of the season so far:

On Nov. 4-5, the group participated in the Golden Eagle Challenge in Aberdeen.

Lauren Farris and Courtney Moore earned second place in novice public forum. Morgan Larson and Clay Lonnemen were third.

Jean Van Driel and Emmy Smith won third place in varsity public forum. Cara Beck took fifth place in domestic extemporaneous.

On the interpretation side, Van Driel won fifth for serious prose, Madi Miller won second in serious plays and Lauren Farris won first in novice original oratory.

The Warrior Speech Invitational, held at Sioux Falls on Nov. 11, saw Lauren Farris receiving second in novice oratory, Matthew Schilling fifth in varsity oratory and Emmy Smith third in non-original oratory.

In novice public forum, Aspen Bechen and Isaac Novak won fourth and Lauren Farris and Courtney Moore won second.

In public forum junior varsity, Josh Dippipo and Don Brady took fourth place. Mason Wenzel and Luke Bartl won second place in varsity public forum.

Lauren Farris won an award for overall best novice at the tournament for her combined performances in debate and speech competition.

Lauren Farris and Courtney Moore were undefeated in public forum debate at the Nov. 15 After School Novice Tournament at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School.

At the McGovern Invitational held in Mitchell on Nov. 18-19, Joe Morgan placed fifth in novice oratory.

In novice public forum, Aspen Bechen and Isaac Novak won first place and Kennan Shannon and Carla Resendiz took fourth.

In international extemporaneous, fifth went to Emmy Smith. Cara Beck was second in novice extemporaneous and AJ Krumbolz claimed fifth.

The team competed in the Lennox Winter Wonderland Tournament on Dec. 3.

The teams of Madi Miller and Matt Schilling; Aspen Bechen & Isaac Novak; AJ Krumholz and Chelsea Wantoch; and Sofi Kristensen and Emma Feldman received plaques for going either 4-0 or 3-1 at the tourney.

The State Oral Interp contest was held Dec. 3 in Pierre but no Mitchell students earned a superior ranking.

"This is very much a rebuilding year, training up-and-coming kids," said oral interpretation coach Melissa Vatter-Miller.

The speech and debate team competed in the Central Forensic Conference Tournament in Lennox on Dec. 10.

Lauren Farris finished second in novice original oratory. Mason Wenzel was first in varsity extemporaneous.

AJ Krumholz was first in novice extemporaneous and Abe Kalovsky placed third.

Madi Miller placed first in dramatic interpretation. Matt Schilling placed second in varsity oratory.

The team of Keenan Shannon and Jake Louder placed second and the team of Sofi Kristensen and Lauren Farris placed first in novice public forum debate.

The team also competed at Sioux Falls Washington on Tuesday and at the Bell Invitational in Brookings Dec. 16-17.

In Brookings, Mason Wenzel claimed first in varsity United States extemporaneous, Emmy Smith placed fourth in varsity foreign extemporaneous, Madi Miller was second in dramatic interpretive and the team of Abe Kalovsky and Lauren Farris placed third in junior varsity public forum debate.

The team's next competition will be on Jan. 7 at the Central Forensics Conference at a site yet to be determined. 

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