Mitchell’s Lofgren, Wede qualify to National Speech and Debate tournament, Kernel delegation expands to five

The squad will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2022 national tournament, which will take place June 12-17.

Mitchell qualified five to the National Speech and Debate tournament to take place in Louisville, Kentucky on June 12-17, 2022. From left to right: Joseph Gebel, Alexis Korzan, Keatyn Wede, Kennedy Lofgren and Shawn Boehmer.
Submitted photo

MITCHELL — Mitchell High School’s roster for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) tournament got a little bit bigger this week, as two more students qualified in their events.

Kennedy Lofgren and Keatyn Wede took top ranks at two separate qualifying tournaments to secure their spot at nationals.

On March 10, Lofgren competed in the Northern South Dakota district’s student congress tournament at Aberdeen Central.

Run very similar to South Dakota’s bicameral legislature, 48 competitors from seven schools were placed into a larger chamber meant to mimic the House of Representatives. In another room, 14 students from eight schools mimicked the Senate.

Competing in the Senate, Lofgren and her competitors debated a set of mock bills — some provided by the NSDA and others submitted by competitors themselves — while adhering to parliamentary procedure. All competitors were judged on the quality of their arguments, number of speeches as well as adherence to proper procedure.


Lofgren ran away with the competition, scoring three points better than Brookings’ Elijah Manzer to secure her qualification to the national tournament.

In a separate tournament, hosted online this year, Wede competed in the Northern District’s Big Questions qualifier on March 14.

An event that became a part of NSDA competition in the 2019-20 season, it asks students to debate more vague, complex questions that have a broader world view.

This year’s question was “On balance, societies benefit from religious belief and practice.”

The field of 10 competitors at this year’s qualifier was made up of five students from Aberdeen Central and five students from Mitchell High School. An individual event, Wede tallied three wins through her first four rounds, advancing to bracket-style rounds, known as out-rounds, where one loss would disqualify her.

As one of the final three remaining, she topped Aberdeen Central’s Julia Knie to advance to the next round, where she again won over Aberdeen Central’s Aubrey Knie. Two straight wins awarded her a seventh-round bye, which automatically advanced her to the national tournament.

She finished with a 5-1 record, tying Brockel for first place.

Lofgren and Wede’s qualification expands the Kernel’s delegation to five.


Shawn Boehmer and Alexis Korzan each qualified in U.S. extemp while Joseph Gebel qualified in international extemp (in which he also won a state championship) after multiple students from Aberdeen Central vacated their seats.

Mitchell’s Serenity Hollins also had to vacate her seat to the tournament.

The squad will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2022 national tournament, which will take place June 12-17.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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