Sioux Falls area students excel at state speech and debate tournament
Students from Sioux Falls Christian, Harrisburg and Lennox brought home state championships in four separate events, while Sioux Falls Jefferson combined to earn the third-place team title.
MITCHELL — A lot of hardware was brought back to the Sioux Falls area this weekend after multiple titles were won at the South Dakota State Debate and Individual Events tournament.
The tournament, Friday and Saturday (March 3-4) in Mitchell, saw students from the area take home state championships in four separate events as well as third-place overall finish.
In Class A public forum debate, two Sioux Falls Christian teams were crowned co-champions. The teams of two — one consisting of Carson Weiner and Blake Hoogeveen and the other featuring Bethany Kobes and Anna Netjes — were crowned co-champions with a perfect 5-0 record.
Known in the debate world as “closing out,” a final round is typically not held when two teams from the same school remain.
In Class AA, Harrisburg’s Kira Waldhalm took home two separate titles.
Her first came in Lincoln-Douglas debate, an solo debate event that typically revolves around logical, ethical and philosophical questions. Waldhalm kicked off the tournament with a 3-2 record in preliminary rounds before securing 13 of 14 possible ballots across the final four elimination rounds for the championship.
Waldhalm also took home the title in U.S. extemp, where competitors are given a question on current events and given 30 minutes to prepare and deliver a seven-minute speech.
The final trophy was earned by Lennox’s Gunnar Geiken in Class A Lincoln-Douglas debate. After advancing into elimination rounds, Geiken cruised into the final round with five of six possible ballots before overcoming Milbank’s Max Schuelke by a 3-2 panel vote.
Though Sioux Falls Jefferson didn’t secure titles in any events, a swathe of second- and third-place finishes in Class AA competition led to the school taking home the third-place overall trophy. Aberdeen Central won the top honors in Class AA for the seventh-straight year.
Here’s a look at the full results from the tournament:
- Champion: Aberdeen Central.
- Runner-up: Sturgis Brown.
- Third-place: Sioux Falls Jefferson.
- Champion: Spearfish.
- Runner-up: Milbank
- Third-place: Beresford.
Public forum debate
- Champions: Abiah George & Sami Hegge, Aberdeen Central.
- Runners-up: Beneyam Hassen & Josiah Stolz, Sioux Falls Jefferson.
- Semifinalists: Lucy Walker & Josee Compton, Watertown; Emily Hua & Igen Nyawanda, Brookings.
- Quarterfinalists: Abigail Johnson & Bono Buchtel, Sturgis Brown; Reagan Blackburn & Katelyn Ryan, Aberdeen Central; Angeth Mayen & Rebekah Kane, Sioux Falls Jefferson; and Alex Shore & Albert Shore, Brookings.
- Co-Champions: Bethany Kobes & Anna Netjes, Sioux Falls Christian; and Carson Weiner & Blake Hoogeveen, Sioux Falls Christian.
- Semifinalists: Maddie Cross & Donald Werner, Spearfish; and Will Scharf & Levi Taglioli, Spearfish.
- Quarterfinalists: Debbie Campbell & Arianna Georgescu, Vermillion; Rachel Bryan & Brayden Karkalik, Dakota Valley; and Qualon Grant & Elexia Quintanilla, Milbank.
- Champions: Kira Waldhalm, Harrisburg.
- Runners-up: Martin Jones, Sturgis Brown.
- Semifinalists: Breanna Wollman, Aberdeen Central; and John Hinrichs, Sioux Falls Washington.
- Quarterfinalists: Sophia Meyer, Douglas; Landon Whittle, Watertown; Amanda Rothe, Douglas; and Heidi Pan, Harrisburg.
- Champions: Gunnar Geiken, Lennox.
- Runners-up: Max Schuelke, Milbank.
- Semifinalists: Ava Gooch, Spearfish; and Sam King, Spearfish.
- Quarterfinalists: Hedy Perez Paulin, Vermillion; McKenzie Ritenour, Lennox; and Jack Vitt, Vermillion.
Class AA individual events
- Champion: Breanna Wollman, Aberdeen Central.
- Runner-up: Beneyam Hassen, Sioux Falls Jefferson.
- Third-place: Meridian Hailu, Sioux Falls Jefferson.
- Finalists: Abiah George, Aberdeen Central; Carlie Johnson, Sturgis Brown; and Aadil Ali, Harrisburg.
- Champion: Kira Waldhalm, Harrisburg.
- Runner-up: Sami Hegge, Aberdeen Central.
- Third-place: Breanna Wollman, Aberdeen Central.
- Finalists: Shawn Boehmer, Mitchell; Noah Johnson, O’Gorman; and Bono Buchtel, Sturgis Brown.
- Champion: Kaleb Ringgenberg, Aberdeen Central.
- Runner-up: Abiah George, Aberdeen Central.
- Third-place: Aadil Ali, Harrisburg.
- Finalists: Martin Jones, Sturgis Brown; Igen Nyawanda, Brookings; and Sophia Meyer, Douglas.
- Champion: Kayla Waltman, Aberdeen Central.
- Runner-up: Paige Lewis, O’Gorman.
- Third-place: John Hinrichs, Sioux Falls Washington.
- Finalists: Ian Candy, Brandon Valley; Bekah Kane, Sioux Falls Jefferson; and Ashley Crouch, Aberdeen Central.
Class A individual events
- Champion: Laney Andrews, Beresford.
- Runner-up: Emma Andrews, Beresford.
- Third-place: Sophie Matsuda, Spearfish.
- Finalists: Carlos Olivares Zuniga, Milbank; Noah Sayler, Lennox; and Ava Gooch, Spearfish.
- Champion: Ava Gooch, Spearfish.
- Runner-up: Nina Jordre, Vermillion.
- Third-place: Max Schuelke, Milbank.
- Finalists: Max Josko, Beresford; Rylen Frerichs, Milbank; and Will Scharf, Spearfish.
- Champion: Sam King, Spearfish.
- Runner-up: Gunnar Geiken, Lennox.
- Third-place: Donald Werner, Spearfish.
- Finalists: Shane Spiering, Milbank; Jack Vitt, Vermillion; and Laney Andrews, Beresford.
- Champion: Rylee Nordyke, Vermillion.
- Runner-up: Emma Andrews, Beresford.
- Third-place: Qualon Grant, Milbank.
- Finalists: Maria Eisenbraun, Spearfish; Abbi Johnson, Spearfish; and Ixtal Macias, Milbank.