Minneota Speech Team grows in numbers, success
The Minneota Speech Team continues to grow — in numbers and in success.
The Vikings opened the season on Saturday with 18 entries at the Trojan Invitational in Worthington and came away with a solid effort.
The Duo team of Jacob Haen and Brenden Kimpe, both juniors; as well as freshman Emma Lipinski in Great Speeches, took home top honors in their respective categories.
“This was the first outing for many members of the team, this year,” said Coach Kim Gades.
“The Minneota Speakers had a great outing. It was a great start to the season.” Kimpe also placed second in Extemporaneous Reading.
Sean Dilley, a junior, was third in Informative Speaking. Rachel Engels, a senior, placed fourth in Informative; Ben Engels, a sophomore, was fourth in Prose; and Katie Walerius, a sophomore, was fifth in Drama.
Earning a blue ribbon for finishing just out of the top six was Haen in Humorous. Red ribbons for those finishing only two spots out of the top six went to Trevor Belaen, a senior, in Discussion; and Jackson Jeremiason, a junior, in Humorous.
It was the first career varsity meet for Jeremiason, as it was for Tristan Bierschenk, a freshman; and Cora Fischer, a seventh-grader. Minneota finished sixth overall as a team.
The Minneota Speech team will host two meets this week; a junior high meet on Thursday and a varsity meet on Saturday.
MARSHALL SPECTACULAR: A few veteran Minneota team members competed in the Marshall Spectacular Meet on Jan. 27. But it was more of a warmup to the season for Minneota since many of the other teams that attended have been practicing since school started, while Minneota began in December.
“(Our kids) got to see different competition than we see during the competitive season,” Gades noted. “Those that competed also have a leg up because four judges have already seen and given feedback to them.”
A look at this season’s team “Our team this year is looking to be about 30 strong,” said Gades, who is again being assisted by Amanda Engels. “Crazy to think we were around five just a few years ago.”
Minneota also placed third in Section 3A last year, while also earning trophies in a majority of the meets it competed in last season.
“I'm hoping we can continue on that trajectory,” said Gades. “I know one goal some of the kids who've been on the team for a while are hoping we can break into the top two this year (in 3A).”
Minneota had 14 entries qualify for the Section 3A meet last season. Of those, 11 placed in the top six in their category.
Four members advanced to state in 2018 – Cecilia Rabaey, Brenden Kimpe, Jacob Haen and Sean Dilley — all four are juniors and are back to compete on the team this season.
Minneota graduated three solid team members last season — Cora Engels, Cole Bot and Sarah Engels — and will have four seniors, eight juniors, two sophomores, six freshmen, four eighth-graders and four seventh-graders on this season's team.
“We're also adding a couple of sixth-graders,” Gades noted. Minneota will have two home meets this season, a junior meet on Feb. 7 and a varsity meet on Feb. 9.
“It's always nice to have a home meet where kids get to compete in their school so friends and family can come and watch to see what speech is all about,” said Gades.
Minneota also has meets in Morris, Adrian, Luverne, Montevideo, Southwest Minneota State University and Pipestone on successive weekends.
There will also be five junior high meets during that time frame. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how the team grows this year,” Gades said.
“We're adding several new members and we have a large number of returning members as well.
Creative Expression – Cecilia Rabaey, junior.
Discussion – Trevor Belaen, senior; Tristan Bierschenk, freshman.
Drama – Katie Walerius, sophomore. Duo – Natalie Boe, junior/Tara Thooft, junior; Jacob Haen, junior/Brenden Kimpe, junior; Lilly Moorse, 8th grade/Kinsey Moorse, freshman; Kylie Sterzinger, 7th grade/Samara Sumerfelt, 7th grade.
Extemporaneous Reading – Ella Bot, 8th grade; Jaelin Anderson, 6th grade.
Extemporaneous Speaking – Brenden Kimpe, junior; Joe Voit, 7th grade
Great Speeches – Emma Lipinski, 9th grade.
Humorous – Jacob Haen, junior; Jackson Jeremiason, junior; Reagen Bierschenk, 8th grade; Wyatt Pohlen, 6th grade.
Informative – Rachel Engels, senior; Sean Dilley, junior.
Original Oratory – Sean Dilley, junior; Alyssa Engels, freshman.
Poetry – Cora Bolt, junior; Morgan Wersal, freshman; Cora Fischer, 7th grade.
Prose – Isabelle Hennen, senior; Ben Engels, sophomore.
Storytelling – Zoe DeBoer, junior; Thomas Belaen, freshman; Joey Clark, 8th grade.