Havre Daily News Staff
Havre High School’s speech and debate team saw success at the divisional tournament in Havre Saturday, qualifying 15 of its 16 students for state competition in Columbia Falls this week, and missing first place in the sweepstakes competition by inches. “It was a small divisional tournament, but it was still difficult,” head coach Kevin Shellenberger said after the tournament, hosted by Havre. “Our team did a good job.” Havre took second with 110 points, while Belgrade, which brought 21 speech competitors and another 13 in drama, took first with 119 points. In speech, Butte Central Catholic High School took third with 59 points, Browning High School took fourth with 18 points and Fergus County High School from Lewistown took fifth with 16. In drama, Belgrade took first with 104 points, Browning took second with 102 and Fergus placed third with 62 points. Havre does not field a drama team. The top six finishers in each category at the tournament qualified for state. Of Havre’s competitors, two won the divisional championship in their event. Richard Leeds took first in humorous oral interpretation of literature, and Lucas Minnick defeated his teammate Malcom Obresley in the finals round in Lincoln-Douglas debate on straight ballots. Havre closed out the top three spots in the event, with Teresa Buerkle taking third for Havre. In team debate, Havre’s Dylan Long and Gavin Swietnicki and the team of Amber Odegard and Brent Donoven filled up the second- and third-place slots, respectively. Long and Swietnicki edged out Odegard and Donoven to break into the final round in team debate, but lost to a team from Butte Central on straight ballots to end up in second. In original oratory, Rhett Lowder made it into the final round only to lose first place on a tie-breaking procedure. Lowder took second, while first-year competitor Rebekah Martin qualified as a third alternate with a Ninth-place finish. Brad Wagner also lost a first-place finish on a tie-breaker, ending up in second place in impromptu speaking. James Wiken took fourth in the event, while Havre’s Sawyer White qualified for state with a sixthplace finish. Kristin Roll, a fourth-year competitor in extemporaneous speaking for Havre, qualified for state with a second-place finish, while Megan Quintero, competing in just her second tournament for Havre in serious oral interpretation of literature, also took second. He idi Albre cht , who switched to compete in memorized public address partway through this year’s season, qualified for state with a sixthplace finish in her event. The Havre team leaves for the west Thursday to compete in Columbia Falls at the state tournament, running Friday and Saturday. Shellenberger said he has high hopes for the team’s results at state, although the competition will be stiff. The fact that Havre fielded a small team this year will make shooting for first place in the sweepstakes competition difficult, he added. Numbers are down around the state, with even Class AA schools and schools in high population-growth regions having difficulty fielding full teams. Only five of the six Class A schools in the Central Class A Division competed in speech and drama this season n Park Co u n t y Hi g h S c h o o l i n Livingston hasn’t competed all year n and the total numbers at divisionals were 61 speech competitors and 47 in drama, Shellenberger said. As many as 342 students could compete at a Class A divisional tournament. Although Havre fielded its largest team of the year with 16 competitors for divisionals, Shellenberger said the team is still recruiting for students to join next year. While Havre doesn’t have a drama competition program, it could still take up to 30 competitors to divisionals, with three slots open in each of nine events including two competitors in each slot for team debate. Shellenberger said the support of the community and of the school district in putting on the tournament was, as always, phenomenal. Despite losing some community members who had said they would judge 10 to 20 hours at the tournament to other situations that arose, Havre was still able to fill all but two of the more-than 100 judging hours needed with community members. Coaches volunteered to judge the last two hours the Havre team couldn’t fill. Shellenberger said people who weren’t contacted this year who would like to judge in future years could e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. k12.mt.us with contact information and which events, if any are preferred, they would like to judge.