State place winners Sean Dilley, sixth, Informative; Jacob Haen, sixth, Humorous and Zoe DeBoer, third, Storytelling.

DeBoer third at state speech

Dilley, Haen make finals; finish sixth

Zoe DeBoer had no idea what to expect, nor did she have any big expectations after qualifying for the Class A State Speech Tournament at Wayzata High School on Friday, April 12.

This would be the Minneota junior's first appearance at state in her six years on the speech team; made possible after finishing third in Storytelling in the Section 3A meet the week before at SMSU in Marshall.

“I just wanted to perform and see how the judges placed me,” she said about the state tournament. She was quite pleased after being announced as the third-place winner among the 24 participants in her Storytelling category.

“I really wanted finals and was very excited when I made it,” she said.

“I felt really happy that I was number three in the state for my category. I went up against tough competition and am happy how I placed.”

DeBoer was one of six individuals in five categories from Minneota that qualified for the state tournament.

Minneota left for the state meet on Tuesday in order to avoid the snowstorm that hit the area on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We were very appreciative to Activities Director Jason Myhre and Superintendent Dan Deitte for allowing us to ensure our students’ safety,” said Coach Kim Gades.

Sean Dilley in Informative and Jacob Haen in Humorous also made it into the state finals and each earned a sixth-place ribbon.

Brenden Kimpe in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Natalie Bot and Tara Thooft in Duo also had qualified for the state tournament after finishing first and second, respectively in the section meet.

DeBoer chose “Little Sister of the Giants” among three titles for her third-round story that propelled her into the finals. In the final round, she drew “Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World”, “Chicken Licken” and “Shin-ge-bis Fools the North Wind”, and selected the latter of the three for her speech. “I was more excited than nervous,” DeBoer said.

“I love having the big audience when telling my stories. I was a little nervous seated on stage (for the award presentations), but that went away when my name was announced.”

Kimpe, who was making his third state appearance, finished in 13th place this year.

Bot/Thooft, performing in their second state tournament, finished 15th.

“I think our section is one of the toughest in the state,” Dilley said.

“In my category, the top three in sections all made it into the finals at state.”

Section 3A had 12 entries reach the finals, with one earning a state championship. The top eight in each category advanced to the finals. “After three preliminary rounds, we waited in the commons, straining to see TV screens flashing the finals postings,” said Gades.

“I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing our kids’ names up on the TV.”

“When the finals concluded, we headed to the auditorium for awards. All the finalists sat on the stage together. Seeing our kids on stage with the best in the state was so awesome. Everyone has worked so hard this season and it showed.”

Haen, a junior, was making his second straight state appearance. He finished 10th in Humorous last season.

“I wanted to at least do as well as last year; and hopefully even better,” he said. Haen’s Humorous speech he used all season was titled “One Giant Leap”, based on a 40-45 minute one-act play that he whittled down for his 10-minute talk.

The title centers on a third-grade classroom full of silly characters that is putting on a class play about the moon landing.

“I found it on the internet and I really liked it,” Haen explained.

“I changed a few things during the season to try and make it a little better. I even took out one character completely, so it took a little time to adjust to that.”

Dilley, a junior, has improved in each of his three trips to state. He finished 12th as a freshman and ninth last season. “I was super nervous the first year I went to state,” he said.

“I didn’t know what to expect at all. Last year, I wasn’t quite as nervous and I realized what was going on a little more.” “This year, I was really comfortable for the first two rounds. But then I got a little nervous in the third round because I knew I had to do well to make it into the finals.”

Dilley said everyone’s ultimate goal is to be a state champion.

“But that might be a bit far-fetched,” he admitted. “Honestly, it’s an honor just to make it to state and the number one goal there for me is to make it into the finals.”

Dilley’s Informative topic was Genetic Genealogy in which he told about the pros and cons of having people’s DNA information on the internet, such as and other places.

“One of the positive things I talk about is how they are able to track serial killers by using DNA from the internet,” he said.

“But there are dark sides to having that information on the internet that I talk about, too.” Getting up in front of an audience and speaking can be a tough task for many people. But the Minneota speakers performed admirably all season.

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