The Columbia Falls speech and debate team took first among Class A schools at the Kalispell meet Nov. 3, but it was a squeaker. The Wildcat edged Hamilton in a tiebreaker for the top spot.
“The tie for the trophy was broken by Mason Gedlaman’s first-place showing in impromptu,” coach Tara Norick said.
Gedlaman was the only competitor from Columbia Falls to take first place in an event. Columbia Falls took second for the Class ABC sweep behind Loyola, of Missoula.
Sophomore Meredith Stolte took fifth in original oratory, and sophomore Cody Phillips took sixth in extemporaneous speaking.
In varsity policy debate, the team of Mara Barnes and Monique Schoech took fifth and the team of Erick Franklund and Colter Norick took sixth. In novice policy debate, the team of Madi Mantell and Stephen Lindsey placed eighth.
“There was strong competition from several teams, but particularly Hamilton,” Norick said. “We have our work cut out for us this year, but I think our team is ready for the challenge.”
The Cats travel to Missoula for a Class AA meet this weekend.
Other results included:
Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate
9th — Allison Foust
10th — Ada Brooks
9th — Blake Ladenburg
9th — Blake Ladenburg
Memorized public address
9th — Breanna Friar
9th — Baylee Brinton
10th — Yeo Chung
Speech team gears up for another run at state title
The Columbia Falls speech and debate team is expected to be strong again this year. The Wildcats have won seven state Class A titles in a row and will have 45 students competing this season.
Students have been practicing since Oct. 1, but many just started working on their events last week because they were involved in fall sports, coach Tara Norick said. Twenty-one members participated in fall sports, she said last week.
“I don’t feel like we’re quite as prepared as we were in past years,” she said.
This year’s schedule is a tough one. The team will attend four Class AA meets and make six overnight trips, including a regular-season meet in Bozeman.
The squad has three seniors and 12 incoming freshmen, but there’s still plenty of returning talent, Norick said.
Norick looks for junior Mason Gedlaman and senior Blake Ladenburg to have strong seasons. Gedlaman was a state champion last year in humorous oral interpretation. Ladenburg was the state champion in memorized public address.
This year, Gedlaman will compete in humorous oral interpretation and impromptu speaking, while Ladenburg will compete in memorized public address and extemporaneous speaking.
Norick also looks for good things from sophomore Meredith Stolte and juniors Mary Gross and Allison Foust. Foust and Gross competed together last season as a policy debate team. This year, Gross will compete in original oratory, and Foust will compete in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
In policy debate, Colter Norick and Erick Franklund have been working hard to hone their craft. Last year as freshmen, they took fifth at state in policy debate.
“They’re motivated they’ll compete against AA squads,” Norick said.
This is Norick’s third year as head coach. She’s assisted by Kim Gange and Leslie DiMaio.
Columbia Falls can expect competition from other Class A schools like Whitefish, Billings Central, Laurel and Hamilton. Overall, Loyola Sacred Heart in Missoula, Glacier High and Bozeman have very strong programs. In Bozeman, debaters school for a year before they ever see competition, Norick said.