Wildcat speakers roar into season

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The Columbia Falls speech and debate team launched the 2018-19 season with strong performances over the last two weekends, taking first place in competitions in Hamilton and Kalispell.

About 30 team members competed in the first two of nine tournaments leading up to Divisionals on Jan. 19.

The Wildcats have begun their hunt for their 21st state championship, their 14th in a row. The program, under the direction of head coach Tara Norick, has built a reputation as a formidable powerhouse in the Class A division.

Competitors in both individual and team events did well in both tournaments. Individual standouts include Sophomore Emmalee Hellen, who took first place in Memorized Public Address in both Hamilton and Kalispell. In Hamilton, Junior Sam Lovering competed in two events and placed second in Extemporaneous Speaking and sixth in Impromptu – both short-prep events where students are required to prepare speeches on the spot on topics drawn at the beginning of each round.

In Policy Team Debate, two-person teams prepare complex and heavily researched cases about a specific current event topic, and then spend 90 minutes battling an opposing team on the validity of that plan. This repeats five times over the course of the day. In Hamilton, Columbia Falls swept all three top spots in this event, with Senior Ian McKenzie and Junior Maggie McKeon arguing their way to a first place finish by defeating their own teammates, Juniors Callie Jo Johnson and Tre Finley. Right behind them in third place were Junior Shyane Williams and Freshman Ava Foley.

In Kalispell, the three team also did well — McKenzie and Mckeon earned the third place spot, Williams and Foley finished second, and Johnson and Finley placed eighth.

In Public Forum Team Debate, a faster-paced format, with an emphasis on logical arguments and thinking on your feet, Columbia Falls also took the top honors in both cities. In Hamilton, Sophomore Lara Erickson and Junior Laney Conger took first place with a finals round win over teammate Freshman Emma Stephens and Griffin Conger. In Kalispell, the Wildcats also triumphed in this event. Seniors Cassidy Norick and Kelsey Wright argued their way to first place, with Conger and Erickson in third, and Stephens and Conger in eighth.

Columbia Falls will host its invitational tournament on Nov. 17. The team is seeking to sign up judges to help with the tournament. Anyone can participate, and they emphasize that you don’t have to be an expert to be a judge.

“One of the good things about high school speech and debate is that we use lay judges for all of our competitions, so it is a great way for the community to turn out and support the team and get an opportunity to see these amazingly talented kids in action,” Norick said.

Anytone interested in helping with the Nov. 17 tournament should email Norick at tnorick@gmail.com.

HAMILTON

Policy Debate

1st Ian McKenzie and Maggie McKeon

2nd Calie Jo Johnson and Tre Finley

3rd Shyane Williams and Ava Foley

Public Forum Debate

1st Lara Erickson & Laney Conger

2nd Emma Stephens & Griffin Conger

LD Debate

2nd Chloe Coberley

Impromptu

3rd Paige Moriarty

6th Sam Lovering

Extemporaneous

2nd Sam Lovering

Humorous Interpretation

4th Ave’ McDonald

Memorized Public Address

1st Emmalee Hellen

Informative

2nd Cassidy Norick

6th Katherine Macpherson

7th Anna Pickard

8th Aiden Judge

Original Oratory

2nd Paige Moriarty

Sweeps (team score)

1st Columbia Falls 170

2nd Polson 55

3rd Stevensville 47

KALISPELL KICKOFF

Policy Debate

2nd Shyane Williams and Ava Foley

3rd Ian McKenzie and Maggie McKeon

8th Calie Jo Johnson and Tre Finley

Public Forum Debate

1st Cassidy Norick and Kelsey Wright

3rd Lara Erickson & Laney Conger

8th Emma Stephens & Griffin Conger

Varsity LD Debate

5th Chloe Coberley

Novice LD Debate

6th Raphe Salmon

8th Jayden Webb

Humorous Interpretation

5th Ave’ McDonald

Memorized Public Address

1st Emmalee Hellen

Original Oratory

3rd Paige Moriarty

Sweeps (team score)

1st Columbia Falls - 106

2nd Whitefish - 31

3rd Loyola Sacred Heart - 30.5

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