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Local speech and debate competitors excel at nationals

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | June 29, 2021 12:00 AM

Local high school speech and debate students broke into the top 60 at nationals, with Flathead High competitor Alan Taylor among the top 32 in the Congress House event.

Approximately 6,013 students from 1,316 schools around the nation competed in 25 events at this year’s virtual tournament organized by the National Speech and Debate Association and held June 13-18.

About 250 to 350 students from around the nation compete in each event, vying to advance through multiple preliminary and elimination rounds.

Students making it to the top 60 from Flathead are James Francis and Kadence Johnson in Duo Interpretation; Sophie Dykhuizen in Storytelling; Neila Lyngholm in Impromptu Speaking and Scout McMahon in Prepared Commentary.

Glacier’s Lizzie Sweeny broke into the top 60 in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, out of 368 competitors, according to Head Coach Greg Adkins, who said it was one of the best finishes for the school.

From Whitefish, Abigail Bowden also finished in the top 60 in International Extemporaneous Speaking.

Flathead also had students ranking in the top 100, including Aiden Christy, James Francis and Adina Lockwood all competing in Storytelling, and Neila Lyngholm in Informative Speaking. Eva Bruce competed in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, making it to the ninth preliminary round.

Qualifying to compete in the national tournament is also an accomplishment as Montana students compete against both large and small schools in the west district, Whitefish Head Coach Sara Mueller said.

Students who also competed at nationals included:

• Flathead — Jasmine Anderson, Eva Bruce, Kelvin Dixon, Sophia Dykhuizen, Annelise Mason, Sayla McCulley, Scout McMahon. Bethany Nairn, Alan Taylor, Rylin Wilde and Alexa Wilton.

• Glacier — Mac Adkins, Bella AuClaire, Brenna Ernst, Mason Fauth, Kait Giffin, Alexandra Houseworth, Maddie Johnson, Jake Keller, Isaac Lorenc, Lane McKoy, Davis Rennie, Simon Roston, Lizzie Sweeney, Bella Teggeman, Jane Trina, Aidan Walker and Jarrod Wutke.

• Whitefish — Paetra Cooke, Adrienne Healy and Bethany Barnes.

• Columbia Falls High School — Eddie Chisholm, Griffin Conger, Tre Finley, Calie Johnson and Emma Stephens.

ReporterHilary Mathesonmay be reached at 758-4431 or by hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com