Speech and debate dominates at Kelly Walsh

Erin Mullins

The Lovell/Rocky Speech and Debate team placed first for 1A/2A schools on November 10 and 11 at Kelly Walsh. There were about 20 teams at the event and many were bigger 3A and 4A schools.
Three members placed individually. Peyton Hernandez placed second and Hudson Mickelson took third in the Lincoln Douglas debate. Bianca Krei placed fifth in original oratory.
Coach John Mickelson said that the event was a really well-run tournament.
“We enjoy the bigger tournaments because it gives us a chance to see other pieces, perform other pieces, and argue against different kids,” Mickelson said.
Starting in January, speech and debate competitors can only compete in the varsity division, and they are graded more strictly, Mickelson said. Currently, both novice and varsity competitors can use notes during their speech. Starting in January, that will not be allowed. Additionally, starting in January competitors will be docked if they do not meet time limits in their speech.
Mickelson expects his team to put in the work outside of practice. He hopes that his team will put in even more work practicing around the holidays.
“I was just telling the kids today that if their screen time is more than their practice time, then they shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t place as high as they want,” he said. “They shouldn’t complain about it because if you have time to play on your devices, then you have time to practice.”
Mickelson said he was also proud of Lilly Keele after this weekend because he could tell she was hungry to do better. Lillian Wenstrom performed her humor piece for the first time at the meet, he said. She is adjusting her piece to be better and is planning to do a duo with Katie Badgett.
The next meet is at Wyoming Indian on Saturday. The meet is for the members inexperienced in the events they are competing in to get more practice.  A few varsity members will also attend to help judge the novice members on their performances.
Mickelson said coaching is always an adventure, and he is looking forward to the rest of the season.