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Lennox Speech and Debate Team Enjoys Strong Showing at State


On March 4 and 5, the Lennox Speech and Debate team competed at the State Debate Tournament in Mitchell, SD. The team ended the tournament in fourth place in the “A” team sweepstakes category and had several strong individual placings.

Lennox’s Noah Sayler took sixth place in original oratory. McKenzie Ritenour was a quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas debate and Gunnar Geiken finished second in International Extemporaneous speaking and was named the State Champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

The State tournament offers two different debate styles and four different speech events that students can choose to compete in. Each school can enter up to two students for each event. Students earn points in each round based on win or placings in the round.

Also competing and contributing to the team’s finish were Emma Kilene and Noah Sayler in public forum debate, Maddigan Van Sickle and Madix Havard in public forum debate, Gavin Sweir in informative speaking, Madix Havard and McKenzie Ritenour in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking.

“I am very proud of this group of students,” stated head coach Mike Larson. “We are a very young and inexperienced squad. Gunnar is the senior member of the team, and he is just a junior. This group has a very strong building base for the future and hopefully we will continue to grow and improve next year.”

With the help of Assistant Coach Brady Jandl, many of the students stepped up and picked up new events to help fill our state roster with limited experience. The students range in grades from one junior, three sophomores, one freshman, and two eighth graders.

One of the more exciting moments of the weekend included Geiken finishing as State Champion in “A” Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Geiken first started debating in eighth grade and is in his fourth year of competing at the State Tournament. Geiken has finished twice as a semi-finalist and was a state runner-up two years ago. This year he had to defeat a strong senior debater from Spearfish in the semi-final round to face a debater from Milbank that had just qualified to the National Tournament two weeks earlier. After a very intense round, Geiken won on a 3-2 decision.

Geiken will be representing Lennox High School this summer at the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona in International Extemporaneous Speaking.

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