Columbia Falls Claims 10th Straight Speech and Debate Championship

Flathead brought home the Class AA state trophy, the team’s first since 2009

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead Valley’s dominance in high school speech and debate continues.

The Columbia Falls Speech and Debate team claimed its 10th consecutive Class A state championship at home last weekend while Flathead brought home the Class AA trophy, its 22nd overall championship since statewide competitions were formally organized in 1936 and the team’s first since 2009. Glacier, the four-time defending AA champ, placed third.

Columbia Falls had three students win five individual state championships: Colter Norick (Lincoln Douglas Debate); Meredith Stolte (Impromptu Speaking and Original Oratory) and Bailey Duke (Memorized Public Address and Serious Oral Interpretation).

Also placing high were Colin Norick and Annabel Conger (second place in Policy Debate); Monique Schoech and Anna Nicosia (third in Policy Debate); Cody Phillips (second in Extemporaneous Speaking); Danny Morgan (fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking); Henry Chisholm (fourth in Impromptu Speaking); Samantha Gilk (second in Expository Speaking); Emily Getts (third in Expository Speaking); Breanna Friar (fifth in Memorized Public Address); Ava Chisholm (second in Humorous Oral Interpretation); and Jenna Smith (fifth in Humorous Oral Interpretation and third in Serious Oral Interpretation).

Columbia Falls tallied 245 points to win handily over runner-up Belgrade (102 points). Hamilton placed third with 87 and Whitefish was fourth with 84 points.

Whitefish’s Sam Benkelman won the title in Expository Speaking and earned second in Memorized Public Address.

Flathead tallied 188 points at the state tournament in Missoula. Bozeman was second with 138.5 and Glacier had 100.

Flathead had state champions in six individual events: Alaina Mothershead (Lincoln Douglas); Wyatt McGillan (Extemporaneous Speech); Eli Cornell (Impromptu); Wyatt Dykhuizen and Parker Kouns (Duo Interpretation); Majia Hadwin (Original Oratory); and Michael Rutledge (Expository Speaking).

Glacier’s Ben Habel won the state title in Memorized Public Address.

Other top placers from Flathead were Liz Stone and Eli Brown (fourth place in Policy Debate); Sophia Skwarchuk (third in Lincln Douglas); Cornell (second in Extemporaneous); Stephanie Woodland and Sarang Bhattacharya (fifth in Public Forum); Sam Clarin (fourth in Legislative); Sarah Ward (fourth in Extemporaneous and third in Impromptu); Jackson Davey and Micah Moore (third in Duo Interpretation); Wyatt Dykhuizen (second in Humorous Interpretation); Jade LeGassey (second in Serious Interpretation); Micah Moore (fifth in Serious Interpretation); Steele Jochim (second in Expository Speaking); and Kodee Wagner (fourth in Expository Speaking).

Other top placers from Glacier were Josie Jolly (second in Legislative); Kyersten Siebenaler (third in Legislative); Lydia DalNogare (fifth in Impromptu); Abby Van Allen and Rebecca Konen (fourth in Duo Interpretation); Ben Habel and Aaron Robinson (fifth in Duo Interpretation); Harrison Kauffman (second in Memorized Public Address); Aaron Robinson (fifth in Memorized Public Address); Aidan Fritz (fourth in Original Oratory); Brock Adkins (fifth in Original Oratory); and Anika Fritz (third in Expository Speaking).

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