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HHS Debate & Interp team qualifies three for national competition

Posted: Thursday, Feb 21st, 2013

Huron High School Debate & Interp Team members who qualified to advance to national competition this summer are, from left, Maddy Klein, Benjii Halbkat and Maddy Gohn. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

The Debate & Interp Team traveled to the Northern South Dakota NFL Qualifying Tournament, held at Watertown High School Feb. 15-16.

Top qualifiers at this tournament advance to the National Speech & Debate Tournament to be held in Birmingham, Ala., this summer in June.

Huron qualified three students to the National Tournament, Maddy Gohn and Maddy Klein in Duet Interp and Benjii Halbkat in Humorous Interp.

“It’s great for Huron to qualify students to Nationals again,” said head coach Mitch Gaffer. “This will be the 31st National Tournament for HHS. We have some fine history in attending; including Mike Cole and Steve O’Brien winning the National Policy Debate Championship in 1984, and Amit Kapur’s 16th place finish in LD Debate in 1993. It’s exciting to contemplate the mark these students could have!”

In Duet Interp Gohn and Klein advanced to the final round and qualified for Nationals; and Halbkat and Troy Berg advanced to the final round and placed fourth.

In Humorous Interp, Halbkat advanced to the final round and qualified for Nationals; Paul Christenson advanced to the final round and is the first alternate to Nationals; Julianna Wallenstein advanced three rounds; and Berg advanced two rounds.

In Dramatic Interp, Gohn advanced to the final round and placed fifth; Klein advanced to the final round and placed sixth; Sarahi Luna advanced three rounds; and Karina Ward advanced two rounds.

In Public Forum Debate, Robin Rittel and Cassidy Stevens advanced four rounds; Ben Brown and Dylan Stahly and Alexander Zell and Rachel Smith each advanced two rounds.

In LD Debate, Becca Langbehn advanced three rounds; and Madyson Spoonemore, Crystal Wharton, and Alex Adermann each advanced two rounds.

In International Extemp, Alex Ketcham advanced two rounds.

In Original Oratory, Karina Ward and Sarahi Luna each advanced two rounds.

Students have worked hard to reach their goals, said assistant

“The entire coaching staff is so proud of this team,” said assistant coach Angie Klein. “They worked hard and prepared for this weekend, and the results show that it definitely paid off. At this same tournament last year, we had three students make it to finals, and no one qualified. This year, six events made finals and two qualified.

“We did have students who were disappointed with their individual results, but it was not due to lack of preparation,” Klein said. “Like any contest, you must go out and play the game, and let the chips fall where they may. You take your chances every time you enter a round.”

“This is a long and grueling tournament,” Gaffer added. “Students face possible elimination each round they compete. There’s a lot on the line and the pressure is always on. I am very proud of how these young people prepared for and responded to this tournament. I hope they learned something about themselves that they can take with them throughout their lives.”

Klein said the focus is shifting to prepare for competition on the national level.

“We will spend the next three months tweaking Klein and Gohn’s duo and Halbkat’s humor to make sure they will be competitive at the national level. This is a very exciting day for oral interp in Huron.”

The next tournament for the team is the State Debate & I.E. Tournament in Yankton on March 1-2. The team will have several members unavailable that weekend due to other obligations, but the team has decided to travel small rather than not attend.

For the complete article see the 02-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-20-2013 paper.

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