After a successful 2019, the Minneota Speech team is gearing up for another exciting season. Minneota opens the season on Jan. 24-25 at the annual Marshall Speech Spectacular.
The Vikings will host an invitational on Feb. 8. “I think we have some very strong competitors,” said Coach Kim Gades, who was named Region 3A Coach of the Year last season. “Our upperclassmen who have stayed on throughout the years are very dedicated to this team.
“The leadership and dedication have been a key part of our successes over the last couple of years. We have a big group of seniors who have led the charge.” Minneota has a lot of experience after graduating only two team members last year; Rachel Engels and Trevor Belaen.
“We are a senior heavy team this year,” Gades said about her six upperclassmen.
“They have been on the team since they were in sixth grade, or joined in junior high. I think their enthusiasm for the activity and their leadership has meant a lot to the younger kids.” All six seniors have qualified for the state meet at one time or another.
Zoe DeBoer qualified for state for the first time last year in Storytelling and finished third in the state in Class A. Natalie Bot and Tara Thooft qualified for state in Duo in 2017 and again last year.
Sean Dilley was sixth in state last season in Informative, and also qualified for state in 2017 and 2018. Jacob Haen was sixth at state last year in Humorous and also advanced to the state meet in Duo with Brenden Kimpe in 2018.
Kimpe has earned state appearances each of the last three seasons, including last year in Extemporaneous Speaking.
“The awards are nice, but really our goals are always to improve and get better,” Gades said. “As coaches, we want to help instill confidence in our team members that will last far beyond their years on the team.”
Amanda Engels will again be the assistant coach. “I am very grateful that Amanda is coaching with me again this year,” said Gades.
“She’s a great influence on the kids and has a lot of knowledge to impart on the kids.” Aaron Koep, a Math Corps tutor at the school, is also assisting the speech team this year. “We always really look forward to the speech season,” said Gades.
“We have never been the biggest team, but we’ve always valued quality over quantity. I look at our roster and just get excited thinking about what these kids are going to be able to do this year.
The skills students gain from being involved in this activity, even for one year, will span and last a lifetime.”
Seniors: Natalie Bot - Duo; Tara Thooft - Duo; Zoe DeBoer - Storytelling; Sean Dilley - Informative; Jacob Haen - Humorous, Duo; Brenden Kimpe - Extemp Speaking, Duo
Juniors: Ben Engels - Prose; Katie Walerius - Original Oratory
Sophomores: Thomas Belaen - Storytelling; Tristan Bierschenk - Discussion; Alyssa Engels - Original Oratory; Emma Lipinski - Great Speeches; Morgen Wersal - Poetry
Freshmen: Ella Bot - Extemp Reading; Joey Clark - Storytelling; Reagan Bierschenk - Informative
Eighth Grade: Cora Fischer - Great Speeches; Joe Voit, Duo - Extemp Speaking; Kylie Sterzinger - Duo
Seventh Grade: Wyatt Pohlen - Discussion
Sixth Grade (categories undetermined) Melanie Engels, Noah Harms, Carson Becker, Addison Beach.
Varsity Schedule Jan. 24-25: Marshall Spectacular; Feb. 1: Worthington; Feb. 8: Minneota Invitational; Feb. 15: Luverne; Feb. 22: Adrian; Feb. 29: Redwood Valley; March 7: Montevideo; March 14: SMSU; March 21: Pipestone; March 28: Subsections at Pipestone; April 4: Sections at SMSU April 17: State at Wayzata High School
Junior High Schedule (grades 6-9) Feb. 11: Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; Feb. 20: Luverne; Feb. 24: Russell-Tyler-Ruthton; March 2: Adrian; March 5: Dawson-Boyd