Havre High Speech and Debate concluded its season last weekend at the National Forensic League district qualifier in Great Falls, including picking up an honored award.
The Havre squad picked up this year's Outstanding Chapter Award for the state of Montana. As the award was presented, NFL district chairwoman Anne Sullivan, a former Havre High coach, noted that Havre High School has held its NFL charter since 1942. She read a long list of Havre competitors who have represented the state at past national tournaments, including current assistant coach Tim Leeds, who won the Montana district tournament for Havre in 1983. Leeds is a reporter for the Havre Daily News.
The award is given to the NFL-member school that accumulates the highest number of awards by students for rounds competed in. Higher points are given to students for higher placement in rounds. The last time Havre won the award was in 1985. Once a team wins, it begins again at zero.
"Miss Sullivan's recognition of Havre High's tradition of excellence was a real inspiration to our team for next year," said head coach Peggy Fink. "Havre is currently in second place for the traveling sweepstakes trophy, where the points accumulate over a 10-year period. When the assembly gave Havre High a standing ovation for our school's years of speech and debate excellence, we couldn't help but be inspired."
The top two students in each event at the NFL meet qualify for the national NFL tournament in June.
Entrants for Havre High were team debaters Matt Welch and Peter Spangelo, Matt Wagner and Andrew Dugdale, Lucas Hamilton and Mike Inabnit, Lincoln-Douglas debater Dean Koffler, and orator Tyler Crossley.
With no seniors competing for Havre at NFL this year, the team's best hope was Welch and Spangelo, who had recently placed fourth at the ABC state tournament in Havre. None of the Havre squad made it to finals competition.
The ABC state champ in extemporaneous from Beaverhead was the only competitor outside of the AA ranks to make it to the final round. He finished as a runner-up for national competition, in third place.