Speech team members include: (Front row, left to right): Brenden Kimpe, Jacob Haen, Zoe DeBoer, Sean Dilley. Second row: Wyatt Pohlen, Tristan Bierschenk, Emma Lipinski. Third row:: Ben Engels, Alyssa Engels, Katie Walerius. Back Row: Thomas Belen, Reagan Bierschenk, Joe Voit.

Speech team first in opener

Tops 16-team field at Worthington Invitational

What a way to start the season. The success of the Minneota Speech team has been rising with each meet the past few years.

That was never more evident than on Saturday when Minneota won the 16-team Trojan Invitational in Worthington to open the regular season. That marked the first time Minneota has finished first in this open-class formatted meet, which groups all teams together regardless of how many entries a team might have.

Minneota placed fourth in this meet in 2017 and second in 2018. “It was a great way to start the season,” said Kim Gades, the reigning Section 3A Coach of the Year. Minneota won the meet with 90 points. Worthington finished second with 65 points.

The Vikings, still without some of their veteran speakers with other commitments, brought 13 speakers to this Worthington meet. Two Minneota competitors finished first in their respective category: Zoe DeBoer in Storytelling and Alyssa Engels in Original Oratory. Emma Lipinski earned a pair of second-place finishes, one in Great Speeches and the other in Prose. Brenden Kimpe also finished second twice; in Extemp Speaking and in Duo with Jacob Haen. Sean Dilley placed second in Informative. In his first-ever varsity meet, seventh-grader Wyatt Pohlen shook off any nerves and finished third in Discussion.

Tristan Bierschenk was fourth in Discussion and Katie Walerius was sixth in Original Oratory. Haen in Humorous and Ben Engels in Prose each earned ribbons. Minneota hosts the next speech meet on Saturday, Feb. 8.

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