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Wenzel captures third state title

Mason Wenzel clinched his third state title by taking first place in domestic extemporaneous speaking at the South Dakota state speech and debate tournament in Huron over the weekend.

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Wenzel is the only South Dakota high school student to win three titles in domestic extemporaneous speaking and one of four students ever to win three titles in the same event, according to the South Dakota State High School Activities Association website.

"I don't recall students doing this in the time I have been coaching," said Ron Grimsley, in his 19th year as Mitchell head coach.

Extemporaneous speaking is "one of the harder events in debate. It is by far my favorite event," Wenzel said. "You can add more humor and personality in the speech. You get to be more of yourself in the speech."

Competitors are given 30 minutes to prepare and memorize a five- to seven-minute speech from one of three randomly drawn topics dealing with the United States, Grimsley said. Wenzel's final topic was speaking in favor of the future of nuclear energy in the U.S.

Two other Mitchell students placed in Huron. Ryan Solberg took fifth in domestic extemporaneous speaking and Luke Bartl took fifth in foreign extemporaneous speaking.

A week ago, Solberg also qualified in foreign extemporaneous speaking for the national tournament. Bartl and Wenzel qualified in public forum debate. That national tournament is June 15-20 in Overland Park, Kan.

"It has been a really great season," Grimsley said.