of the Sentinel Konah
Speech and Debate concluded their regular season with a fifth place finish at the state competition in Great Falls last weekend.
“While pieces didn’t fall into place quite the way we had hoped, we still had a stellar weekend,” head coach Cassidy Brooks said.
The team just missed fourth place honors by five points, falling short to Billings Skyview. Bozeman took first place at State, followed by Glacier in second and Flathead coming in third.
But thanks to several strong performances by students who had taken the top 16 in their events, the team was able to come back with 5th place.
“We had a great season,” assistant coach Meredith Brooks said. “We have a lot of younger team members, but despite this, we had third, fourth and fifth place finishes throughout the season, with lots of amazing individual performances.”
Individual finishes at the state competition in Legislative Debate were Junior Maddy Braun in second, Senior Chris Malcomson in third and Senior Zach Tonnerre in sixth. In Impromptu Speaking, Senior Kincaid MacDonald placed seventh and Sophomore Jared Rosenquist placed seventh. Finally, in Original Oratory, Junior Kade Hedahl placed second, and Senior Caden Messer placed sixth.
“Everyone has worked hard this year and the growth as a team has been exceptional,” Brooks said. “However, Sophomore Jared Rosenquist only competed in Impromtu at three meets and ended up taking eighth at state.”
Britt and Brooks are looking toward the younger team members to come back strong for next year. Brooks said, “Freshmen Chase Knoyle and Aaron Stanicar also showed great improvement in Policy Debate, breaking to the top 16 in their first varsity meet.” Brooks also notes some highlights of the season, which included first place finishes by Malcomson and Junior Olivia Jenkinson.
Malcomson said, “My favorite memory for the whole season would probably be the team dinner at Denny’s. Every year after the Missoula meet, the team gets together and goes out late at night and gets dinner at Denny’s and it’s a lot of fun and a bonding experience.”
Brooks also wanted to mention the success the team had in the two Kalispell meets this year, placing third at both. “This is the most hardware we’ve brought home in the last few years,” she said. “Even though we finished fifth at state by a margin of five points, we are still proud of all the time, effort, and dedication of our team,” Britt said.
Up next the team heads to the National Qualifying tournament Feb. 9 and 10 in Helena.
“We hope to improve our performance and possibly qualify a few individuals,” Brooks said.
To qualify, a student has to place in the top two or three in their event. Anyone who qualifies will compete in the National Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale in June.
“We are hopeful to qualify a few students in Congress Debate and Original Oratory in particular, but everyone has a chance!” Brooks said.