Seniors on this year's Minneota Speech team are, left to right, Thomas Belaen, Emma Lipinski (holding team's 2nd place trophy) and Alyssa Engels.

Speech team impressive in opener

Vikings 2nd at Worthington meet; all members earn award

The Minneota Speech team opened the 2022 season at the Worthington Invitational on Saturday and placed second to Luverne.
Due to last year's virtual season and the abrupt ending of the 2020 season, it has been nearly two years since there has been an in-person speech meet," said Minneota coach Kim Gades. "So, for some of our competitors, they've never had a normal season or competed in a regular meet."
Joe Voit earned second place in Extemporaneous Speaking at the meet, the highest finish for a Minneota team member.
Alyssa Engels in Original Oratory, Emma Lipinski in Prose Reading, and Cora Fischer in Great Speeches all placed third.
Placing fourth was Melanie Engels in Storytelling and Wyatt Pohlen in Discussion. Joey Clark was fifth in Storytelling, while Voit was sixth in Humorous Interpretation and Thomas Belaen was sixth in Storytelling.
Lipinski and Noah Harms received blue ribbon in Humorous. Every Minneota team member competing at the meet received an award. Minneota has three seniors on the team this season - Emma Lipinski (Humorous and Prose), Alyssa Engels (Original Oratory), and Thomas Belaen (Storytelling).
Juniors on the team are Joey Clark (Storytelling) and Reagan Bierschenk (Informative). Sophomores include Cora Fischer (Great Speeches), Joe Voit (Extemporaneous Speaking and Humorous).
Also on the team this season is freshman Wyatt Pohlen (Discussion), eighth graders Noah Harms (Humorous), Carson Becker (Extemporaneous Reading), and Melanie Engels (Storytelling); and seventh graders Amadeus Molina (Discussion) and Nolan Van Keulen (Humorous).
Without an assistant coach, Gades will be guiding the team alone this season.
"We have a nice mix of experience and potential on the team," Gades said. "I met with some of the kids starting in December and we've been going with full practices since we came back from Christmas break. Some of our newer competitors are eager to get in the mix and try their hand at speech competitions. It will be exciting to see how they develop throughout the year."
Gades said this year's team has a great work ethic and strive to improve throughout the season.
"They are driven to do well and are not afraid of putting in the work to accomplish their goals," she said. "Our more seasoned team members are happy to be back to competing in person. I have high hopes for the team this season."
Minneota's home meet this season will be held Saturday, March 5. Subsections will also be held in Minneota on April 2.

2022 Speech schedule
Feb. 5 - At Worthington
Feb. 12 - At Luverne
Feb. 19 - At Marshall
Feb. 26 - At Redwood Valley
March 5 - At Minneota
March 12 - At SMSU
March 19 - At Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
March 26 - At Montevideo
April 2 - Subsections in Minneota
April 9 - Sections at SMSU
April 22-23 - State at Eastview

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