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Dickinson High speech team wins third at state

The Dickinson High School speech team celebrated individual and team awards during the 66th annual North Dakota High School Activities Assn.Class A speech tournament. The event was held  April 21 at Jamestown High School.

Valley City won first place, followed by Bismarck St. Mary’s with second and Dickinson High in third place.

The DHS team’s coach, Nathan Amberg, was named Coach of the Year by his peers.

“We had 28 kids go to state in 36 events,” Amberg said. “We really had a good year. We prequalified in 52 events.There’s two ways to qualify -- winning at an invitation or finishing high enough at the regional tournament.”

He added, “All the kids are talented, especially at the state level. Winning often comes down to minute things that change day by day. Being at state tournament is a major accomplishment for these kids.”

DHS also had 13 students who qualified for all-state honors this year.

“We put more emphasis on that  than even qualifying for state,” he said. “To get all-state, you must finish in the top 20 percent of different events -- speech, debate or theater events. I feel as a team, we don’t want to develop specialized speakers, but well-rounded speakers.”

To prepare for competition, the students usually practice each event once a week -- some of the students perform three to four events per competition. Rachel Andrus is the team’s assistant coach, helping the students one-on-one with their presentations.

“I probably spend far too many hours in the summer finding material because I’m trying to find 50 to 100 new pieces each year,” Amberg said. “Sometimes, if I have a really good piece that’s new, several coaches will ask me for them. That’s how we grow an activity, by sharing resources, but it means I need to find new stuff.”

Amberg became involved on the speech team at the request of then coach Janel Schiff, who currently coaches Trinity’s speech team.

“She grabbed me up in 2013 off the street. Coaching is the best thing that could have happened to me,” he said.

DHS and Trinity co-oped for several seasons, but as the team grew, it split back to Class A and Class B.

“The kids are already asking me about Student Congress in the fall -- it’s a never-ending cycle,” he said. “ We’re looking forward to big seasons in both Congress and speech.”

Amberg was surprised at being named Coach of the year.

“It was incredibly humbling -- I did not expect it. I’m very young. I spend a lot of time imitating the older coaches.  I’m able to find a lot of role models around the state.”

Looking ahead, he added, “Another positive thing, next year we will be hosting the WDA speech competition. It will really be cool having it come here for a year.”

State competition results:

Extem. Programmed reading: Madison Barndt, state champion; Hillary Moberg, seventh.

Storytelling: Ele Penney, second; Rasia Mackey, superior speaker.

Inform: Mara Ballard, second; Dawson Dutchak, third.

Dramatic: Jeremy Parker, third; Natalie Lopez, fifth; Bonnie Thompson, seventh.

Serious: Makenzie Theurer, third; Nicole Cooper.

Serious duo: Jeremy Parker and Makenzie Theurer, third; Allisyn Lucas and Kyle Schmidt.

Entertain: Maya Thompson, fifth; Madison Barndt, superior speaker; Christian Jansma.

Poetry: Paige Thorgerson,fifth; Natalie Lopez, superior speaker; Hillary Moberg.

Humorous duo: Kyler Smith and Rasia Mackey, sixth; Cassidy Hughes and Hailey Graves; Christian Jansma and Logan Marsh.

Radio: Dawson Dutchak, seventh; Connor Devero.

Impromptu: Whitney Tiegs, seventh; Mara Ballard, Kyler Smith, Ryan Barndt.

Humorous: Jade Martel, superior speaker; Paige Thorgerson, Cassidy Hughes, Logan Marsh.

Extemp. Speaking: Ryan Barndt, Whitney Tiegs.

Persuade: Maizie Richard, Isabel Lopez, Samantha Schostek.

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