Despite six Class A teams competing at the Central divisional speech and debate tournament Saturday in Butte, the competition turned out to be a two-team race between Belgrade and Havre High School. At the final tally, Belgrade won the speech championship with 108 points to Havre's 104. Browning was a distant third with 58 points.
Three Havre High competitors won divisional championships: seniors Andrew Dusek in expository speaking; Joe Palmer in humorous oral interpretation of literature; and junior Keri Burstock in original oratory.
Every senior on the squad was assured a trip to the state tournament when Alma Muskaj finished second in memorized public address, Zach Kamla took
fourth place in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and Rachel Rawn took fifth place in serious oral interpretation of literature.
Lucas Minnick and teammate Dan Marino took third and fifth, respectively, in Lincoln-Douglas debate to qualify for state.
Havre's three extemporaneous speakers will compete at the state tournament by virtue of a second-place finish by Mitchell Hodges, a third-place finish by Kris Roll, and a fourth-place finish by Casey Donoven.
Christina Hoppe took second in original oratory and Rhett Lowder made finals, securing them state berths.
Jade Lowder's fifth-place finish in humorous oral interpretation of literature qualified him for state, as did Havre's policy debate team of Megan Wagner and Emily Koffler placing fifth in their event.
With a sixth-place finish at divisionals, Jesse Lee will compete at state in impromptu speaking, while teammate Tyler Lamb's eighth-place finish made him a second alternate. Richard Leeds took seventh in serious oral interpretation of literature and will travel to state. Rick Verplogen was a finalist in expository.
Also competing for Havre High School on Saturday were ninth-place finishers Jacques Thibodeaux in humorous oral interpretation of literature, Ali Ward in expository speaking, Katrina Hinckley in impromptu speaking and Brittany Gobin in serious oral interpretation of literature.
Havre High's speech and debate team leaves Thursday for the state tournament in Columbia Falls, and will finish the 2005-2006 season at the National Forensic League nationals qualifier tournament in Great Falls two weeks later.