Spuds win national title, three reach final round stage

Post date: Jun 24, 2018 11:12:22 PM

Moorhead speakers celebrate their first team national championship.

Front (L to R): Lance Morlock, Sophia Klindt, Joey DiSpirito, Bridget McManamon, Claire Stoltenow, Anna Larson, Izzy Larson, Ariana Grollman

Back (L to R): Meghan Johnson, Tate Gilbertson, Jack Entzion, Alyssa Haagenson, Simon Beach, Margaret Dickey, Luke Seidel

Three Spud speakers reached the final round and all 16 qualifiers took the stage to accept the Bruno E. Jacobs team championship at the 2018 National Speech and Debate Association national tournament as Moorhead capped a historic week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The prestigious award, the NSDA's highest honor, recognizes the program with the most cumulative rounds of competition. In their 36th appearance at nationals, the Spuds racked up 119 rounds for a total of 1,802, more than any other school in the country.

Seniors Ariana Grollman (3rd, Humor) and Lance Morlock (3rd, Inform), and junior Anna Larson (4th, Inform) performed on the final round stage, the most individual final round entries in program history. Morlock and Larson became the first teammates to final in the same category in team history; Larson also earned an automatic qualification to next year's national tournament in Dallas, TX. Junior Margaret Dickey (Drama) reached the quarterfinal round (top 30) in her first appearance at nationals.

In all, nine Spuds advanced to the Octafinal round (top 60) including seniors Bridget McManamon (U.S. Extemp.) Izzy Larson (POI), Luke Seidel (Drama), junior Alyssa Haagenson (POI), and sophomore Claire Stoltenow (International Extemp.)

In addition to the team championship, Moorhead was also named an NSDA School of Excellence in speech for the sixth straight year. The award is given to the top 20 speech schools in the nation.

By the numbers:

235 - The Spuds performed in 235 rounds in the last two national tournaments, jumping from outside the top ten in 2016 to the top spot in 2018.

9 - Nine Spud entries reached the octafinal round this year, the most out-round breaks in team history. It's the third straight year the team has broken this program record, with eight reaching octafinals in 2017 and seven doing so in 2016.

3 - Seniors Ariana Grollman and Izzy Larson each advanced beyond the preliminary rounds for the third time in their careers, joining Carl Hulden (2003-05), Andrea Lichtsinn (2004-06), Nina Grollman (2011-13), and Jessica Anderson (2015-17) as the only Spuds to accomplish the feat. Junior Anna Larson will have the chance to join this list next year.

2000 - The last and only time a Spud reached the octafinal round in International Extemp. was in 2000. Sophomore Claire Stoltenow cracked the top 60 in her first nationals appearance this year.

11 - Moorhead now has eleven national finalists and ten since 2011.