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Lifelong Learning

Moorhead High speech team takes top national award

June 26, 2018

Three Moorhead High School speakers reached the final round, and all 16 national qualifiers took the stage to accept the Bruno E. Jacobs team championship at the 2018 National Speech and Debate Association national tournament as Moorhead High capped a historic week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The prestigious award, the NSDA’s highest honor, recognizes the program with the most cumulative rounds of competition. In their 36th appearance at nationals last week, the Spuds racked up 119 rounds for a total of 1,802, more than any other school in the country.

Additionally, Coach Rebecca Meyer-Larson was awarded the Albert S. Odom Commendation.

Calling it a once-in-a-career highlight, Meyer-Larson said it’s not about the trophies.

“It’s about the hard work, the optimism, the dedication, and the persistence that the trophy represents,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing when kids who work hard from a community that supports them can bring home a trophy to that community to say thanks for the support.”

For the first time in program history, three Moorhead High speakers advanced to the final round, where the top six final speakers compete on the national stage. Senior Ariana Grollman placed third in humor, senior Lance Morlock placed third in inform, and junior Anna Larson placed fourth in inform. Morlock and Larson became the first teammates to final in the same category in team history. Larson also earned an automatic qualification to next year’s national tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Junior Margaret Dickey reached the quarterfinal round (top 30) in drama in her first appearance at nationals.

In all, nine Spuds advanced to the octafinal round (top 60), including senior Bridget McManamon in U.S. extemporaneous speaking, senior Izzy Larson in program oral interpretation, senior Luke Seidel in drama, junior Alyssa Haagenson in program oral interpretation, and sophomore Claire Stoltenow in international extemporaneous speaking.

In addition to the team championship, Moorhead was named an NSDA School of Excellence in speech for the sixth straight year. The award is given to the top 20 speech schools in the nation.

Other national qualifiers were Sophia Klindt in humor, Jennie Hastings in drama, Luke Seidel/Sophia Klindt in dramatic duo, Lance Morlock and Meghan Johnson in oratory, and Joey DiSpirito/Simon Beach and Jack Entzion/Tate Gilbertson in public forum debate.

Head coach of the Moorhead speech team is Rebecca Meyer-Larson, and head coach of the Moorhead debate team is Andrew Tichy.

Photo: During the June 22 awards ceremony at the National Speech and Debate Association tournament, Moorhead High Speech and Debate team members accept the national Bruno E. Jacobs award, the NSDA’s highest honor.

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