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Home Page Photo Four returning champions in Class AA win additional gold

Of the 12 returning champions in both classes, only four, all in Class AA, struck gold again. Three qualifiers also won rare fourth medals this year, all in Class A.

Following are the highlights from each class:

Class A
Maple River of Mapleton and St. Cloud Cathedral led all schools with two gold medals apiece. Cannon Falls captured its second consecutive team championship with its six medalists and 30 points.

None of the six returning gold medalists, who were all returning in their same categories, succeeded in winning an event again this year. Grant Schlichting of Cannon Falls placed second in Extemporaneous Speaking and Elise Anderson of Warroad was third in Storytelling. It was also the third medal overall for both Schlichting and Anderson.

Knute Oldre of Luverne finished fifth in Discussion and Awazi Jaafaru of Twin Cities Academy of St. Paul placed fifth in Serious Interpretation of Drama. It was the fourth medal overall for Oldre.

Grace Kubista of Jordan and Coleman Klimek of Staples Motley were the final returning champions. Kubista did not make the finals in Storytelling and Klimek, along with partner Elijah Sams, fell short of the finals in Duo Interpretation.

Cannon Falls and St. Cloud Cathedral led all schools with two gold medals and 11 schools followed with one apiece. The 2017 champions are: Tom Hawkins of St. Cloud Cathedral in Creative Expression; Carter Peterson of Underwood in Discussion; Lee Schauer and Isaiah Lippert of Maple River in Duo Interpretation; Brianna Kreft of West Central Area of Barrett in Extemporaneous Reading; Pranay Somayajula of Mounds Park Academy of St. Paul in Extemporaneous Speaking; Maggie Schmaltz of Eden Valley-Watkins in Great Speeches; Kate Folkman of Morris Area in Humorous Interpretation; Stephanie Otremba of St. Cloud Cathedral in Informative Speaking; Ellie Hansen of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in Original Oratory; Michaila Hicks of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in Serious Interpretation of Drama; Moriah Lippert of Maple River in Serious Interpretation of Poetry; Christian Lohrenz of Windom Area in Serious Interpretation of Prose; and Molly Tengwall of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in Storytelling.

In addition to Oldre, two other participants won coveted fourth medals this year: Molly Tengwall of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Kate Folkman of Morris Area.

Eleven other competitors won third medals this year: Miranda Felton of Cannon Falls; Maggie Schmaltz of Eden Valley-Watkins; Andraya Parenteau of Hawley; Dylan Thorson of Luverne; Samantha Ykema of Luverne; Madison Malzahn of Park Rapids Area; Marshall Muehbauer of St. Cloud Cathedral; Tom Hawkins of St. Cloud Cathedral; Connor Prafke of St. Peter; Noah Tiegs of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; and Carter Peterson of Underwood.

Class AA
Moorhead led all schools in gold medals, winning five. Of the six returning gold medalists, four succeeded in winning an event again this year at the 2017 Minnesota State High School League Class AA State Speech Tournament. Moorhead also claimed top honors in the team competition for a second consecutive year. The Spuds, who tied with Eagan last year, finished with 84 points this year.

Quintin Walker of East Ridge of Apple Valley claimed his second title in Creative Expression and Dylan Clausen of Elk River won his second gold medal in Discussion. Devon Solwold and Izzy Larson of Moorhead also successfully defended their title in Duo Interpretation. It was also the third medal each for Walker, Clausen, Solwold, and Larson.

The other returning champions were Sarah Grambo of Apple Valley and Tre’ Edgerton of East Ridge. Grambo was looking for her second consecutive title Informative Speaking. Edgerton, who won in Serious Interpretation of Poetry in 2016, competed in Humorous Interpretation this year. Neither Grambo nor Edgerton made the finals in their respective categories this year.

Moorhead led the field with five gold medals and Lakeville North won two. The 2017 champions are: Quintin Walker of East Ridge in Creative Expression; Dylan Clausen of Elk River in Discussion; Izzy Larson and Devon Solwold of Moorhead in Duo Interpretation; Maggie Bergman of Fridley in Extemporaneous Reading; Olivia Shoemaker of Lakeville North in Extemporaneous Speaking; Carolyn Solberg of Moorhead in Great Speeches; Thomas Price of Chanhassen in Humorous Interpretation; Sarah Schulz of Moorhead in Informative Speaking; Jane Michaelson of Apple Valley in Original Oratory; Joshua Weinstein of Lakeville North in Serious Interpretation of Drama; Ola Adebayo of Rochester John Marshall in Serious Interpretation of Poetry; Noel Kangas of Moorhead in Serious Interpretation of Prose; and McKensie Bedore of Moorhead in Storytelling.

Three additional competitors earned their third medals this year: Kevin Bi of East Ridge; McKensie Bedore of Moorhead; and Maia Peterson of Roseville Area. No Class AA participant claimed a coveted fourth medal this year.

AA Results AA Results News Release A Results
2017-2018, 2018-2019 Section Assignments
Home Page Photo Every two years the MSHSL reclassifies teams into new competitive sections. Every school in the MSHSL reports new enrollments to the Minnesota Department of Education on October 1st. The MDE releases these enrollments in February and we take our current registrations and rank the teams by enrollment to put them into classes. Changes in enrollment, new programs, and the formation or dissolution of cooperative agreements in the last two years lead to changes in the section assignments. We try to make as few changes as possible as many teams already have 17-18 schedules in place. Links to the assignments are below.

The Process
  • Class assignments are determined by enrollment.
  • Schools with at least 50% Free and Reduced Lunch can appeal to the Athletic Director Advisory Committee to drop down 1 class in team sports
  • Schools who feel they belong in a higher class can "Opt-Up".
  • Schools within 10% of a class cut-off or who feel they have “special circumstances” can appeal to the Athletic Director Advisory Committee to drop down 1 class in team sports
  • Start with existing placements.
  • Move as few schools as possible.
  • Section placement is determined by geography. Our schools have asked us to reduce travel as much as possible.
  • Geographic Sections should not overlap (as the crow flies).
  • Sections should be numerically balanced within a class. Within 2 in AA classes, within 4 in Class A.
  • Competitive Success is NOT a factor.
  • In Activities like Skiing, Cross Country, Golf, and Track, both genders are placed in the same section (many share a coach).
  • When assignments are made, the maps of Administrative Regions are used as templates.

    There are no appeals to the placements, however there are three ways these could change:
  • A school drops an activity.
  • A school adds an activity.
  • A cooperative agreement is formed or dissolved.
    When adds and drops occur, or coops are changed, we do not rebalance, we just move the school making the change.

    Every assignment was made by one person, Chris Franson at the MSHSL. Chris is the League's IT person and used the same process for all 8000+ assignments and all 74 maps.
    Once the assignments were complete, many eyes reviewed the assignments to make sure the process was followed according to our Class Competition Policy.
    It was reviewed by the League Staff Member responsible for each activity.
    The Athletic Director Advisory Committee spent a day at the League Office reviewing every placement.
    Our Board of Directors had a meeting where they reviewed the placements and verified that the policy was followed.

    Section assignments are for the post-season only. Schools can continue to schedule regular season contests as they always have.

    Two years ago the maps were redrawn from scratch and this time we were directed to just adjust the maps to bring sections back into numerical balance. As a result, of the roughly 8000 teams in the MSHSL, less than 10% of the teams changed class or section. The next 2 year cycle is another adjustment and then 4 years from now, we'll start from scratch again.

    View Section Assignment Maps
    View Section Assignment Lists
    Watch a 2 minute video demonstrating the process
    2017-2018 School Enrollments
    Activity Classifications
    Method to Determine Classification      

  • State Speech: A Day In The Life Of The Spuds
    Posted by John Millea(jmillea@mshsl.org)- Updated 4/22/2017 8:08:32 PM

    “Kaden, how do you feel?”

    “You feeling good, Maryn?”

    Rebecca Meyer-Larson was checking on her team a few minutes before Friday’s Class 2A state speech competition began at Apple Valley High School. The Moorhead coach knew the hay was in the barn after months of hard work, and she also knew the final day of the season held high expectations.

    There are 13 categories in speech, ranging from Creative Expression to Extemporaneous Speaking to Storytelling to Original Oratory. Last year Moorhead went home with a state championship in one category (Izzy Larson and Devon Solwold in Duo Interpretation) and won enough second- through eighth-place medals to share the 2016 team championship with Eagan.

    A few days before Friday’s event, Meyer-Larson talked to me about speech and what makes it different from other MSHSL activities.

    “It’s not like wrestling, it’s not about getting a pin, it’s not about getting faster,” she said. “It’s so subjective. All you can control is how much you can control; sleep, preparations.”

    This is Meyer-Larson’s 25th year as the Spuds coach. (She is on the right in this photo.) In her first year, the team consisted of five students. This year there are 74; 28 of them qualified for state via the Section 8 tournament.

    “We always start with, ‘Who do you want to be later in life? What kind of person do you want to become?’ ” she said. “I’m biased of course, but I think this activity is the best at preparing these kids for the future. I’m amazed by their intelligence, their drive, their desire to do good and be good.”

    As the Spuds knew, there were no guarantees Friday. Izzy Larson (the coach’s daughter) and Solwold were back to defend their Duo Interpretation title. That category has been a Spud specialty, with Matthew Wisenden and Jordan Hartjen winning state in 2014. Could Izzy and Devon make it three Moorhead Duo Interp titles in four years?

    State speech is a torrent of cross-current performance streams. Classrooms are the competition sites, with speakers, judges, room managers, coaches and fans studying maps of the school to find the room and speaker(s) they want to see. In the first three rounds, six speakers are in each room and their lineups change during those rounds so different judges can see them. Following the first three rounds, the top eight in each category advance to the championship round, with each category viewed by five judges.

    In Extemporaneous Speaking, Moorhead’s Bridget McManamon’s first-round presentation centered on President Trump’s relationship with American workers and labor unions. As she made her points while discussing things like NAFTA and jobs in the coal industry, Bridget quoted articles from The Economist, Politico and other sources.

    Evyn Judisch -- competing in Creative Expression with a highly entertaining presentation that he authored (titled “Greetings Mr. Ducksworth”) -- sat at a classroom desk waiting for the room manager to start the round. All the speakers dress in business attire; males in dark suits and females in skirts and jackets. Evyn (pictured), with slicked-back hair and large eyeglasses, owned the room as he voiced three characters and physically “became” them. He had seemed small as he sat at the desk but was larger than life during his performance.

    In a nearby classroom a few minutes later, Moorhead’s Kaden Moszer was the opposite of teammate Evyn during his Serious Interpretation of Prose speech: “I’m Not a Serial Killer” by Dan Wells. While Evyn made Room 219C laugh, Room 211 was buried in absolute silence as Kaden glared, glowered, muttered, screamed and raised an invisible knife (no props are used).

    “By the end of the season they’ve been giving these speeches for a while,” Meyer-Larson said. “It’s fresh every weekend, but we always tell them you walk up to the front of the room and they ought to see in you that you love your words, you love this activity, love your team and represent the activity and your school.”

    After three rounds, lists of those who qualified for the championship round were posted on TV monitors throughout the bright, spacious school. As everyone waited, Meyer-Larson reiterated with a hint of nervousness, “This isn’t wrestling. You just don’t know.”

    The results, as it turned out, were very good for the Spuds: 16 of them advanced to the final round. That meant 16 medals would be traveling home to Moorhead, but even after the competition ended there was more waiting. The awards ceremony was scheduled to begin in the gymnasium at 5:30 but there was a lengthy delay while results were finalized. Music was played in the gym as students sang and swayed to the likes of U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.” When the Village People classic “YMCA” began to play, it was parents who were doing the dancing.

    And then the results were announced, with MSHSL speech rules clinician Cliff Janke at the podium. One by one, the eight finalists in each category came to the stage and stood in a line as winners of the eight medals were revealed, from eighth to first.

    It quickly became clear that this was going to be Moorhead’s day. Storytelling state champion: “From Moorhead, McKensie Bedore.” Informative Speaking state champion: “From Moorhead, Sarah Schulz.” Serious Interpretation of Prose state champion: “From Moorhead, Noel Kangas.”

    The first three categories to be announced resulted in three champs from Moorhead. Meyer-Larson sat in the bleachers with the team, standing, applauding and seeming breathless at times.

    The Spuds’ Carolyn Solberg won gold in Great Speeches and teammate Maryn Cella placed third. In Serious Interpretation of Drama, Luke Seidel was second and Kenan Stoltenow was sixth. In Humorous Interpretation, Ariana Grollman finished as a state runner-up and Sophia Klindt was fourth.

    The closers came through, too. Izzy and Devon were awarded their second consecutive state championship in Duo Interpretation and teammates Abby Dahlberg and Skyler Klostriech were fifth. Then came the team scores: Moorhead 84 points, Apple Valley 62, and Eagan and Lakeville North sharing third place with 34 points.

    For the jubilant Spuds, this had become a day of Non-Extemporaneous Peaking.

    “It was definitely kind of a trial to get through it,” Devon said of winning another title with Izzy. “I was really, really eager this year, even more than last year, to just be here. You of course want to do it again but you’ve got to swallow whatever happens. The fact that it went down this way is phenomenal.”

    “The reason why these kids are so good is because Minnesota is so good,” said Meyer-Larson. “And that’s because of the Minnesota State High School League, the way they treat these kids. They treat them like rock stars. If you ask any kid here, they believe what they’re doing is every bit as important as what happened at state hockey or state wrestling. Because it is. The high school league does a brilliant job of making these kids feel special.”

    After photos, hugs and even a few tears, the day – a remarkable day for the kids who were 250 miles from home -- had ended.

    “It’s just so fun,” Izzy said. “One thing my mom says the most is that it’s not about the trophies and how well you do; it’s about the heart and how much passion you have for your speech and your team and sticking together and having an awesome time. And that’s we did. Sometimes it works out.”

    More of John's Journal

    It takes courage for students to show up every day in this public arena called high school athletics. It takes courage to be the students who wait for their turn to get into the game, to take the last shot, or to be put into the game to throw one pitch with the bases loaded. It takes courage to show up and try a new skill knowing mistakes will surely occur, to enter into a public arena where failure is inevitable, and to move outside of one’s comfort zone.

    Read more: Daring Greatly by Embracing Failure      

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    John Millea
    9h ago
    It's a great activity, fueled by great people. Congrats!

    MSHSL 9h ago
    State Speech: A Day In The Life Of The Spuds.Check out John's Journal. John's Journal

    John Millea
    9h ago
    State Speech: A Day In The Life Of The Spuds. Check out John's Journal. mshsl.org/mshsl/johnsjou

    MSHSL 10h ago
    Here are the complete results from Saturday's MSHSL Class 1A state speech contest at Apple Valley High School. Congratulations to all the participants!

    John Millea
    10h ago
    Complete results from today's Class 1A state speech competition. mshsl.org/mshsl/speech/r

    John Millea
    10h ago
    Class 1A state speech Serious Interpretation-Prose: Christian Lohrenz of Windom learns he is a state champion.

    John Millea
    10h ago
    1A speech Duo Interpretation: Brandon Lange/Ethan Peter/Stewartville (left) are 2nd, Lee Schauer/Isaiah Lippert/Maple River are state champs

    John Millea
    10h ago
    1A speech Creative Expression: Angello Bell/Blackduck (left) learns he placed second; Tom Hawkins/St.Cloud Cathedral learns he's state champ

    John Millea
    10h ago
    That's a pretty low bar...

    John Millea
    10h ago
    *as always*

    John Millea
    11h ago
    Nailed it.

    John Millea
    11h ago
    board member/state speech award presenter Bonnie Spohn-Schmaltz awards gold in Great Speeches to her daughter Maggie of EV-Watkins.

    John Millea
    11h ago
    And one lady with big hair who got in the way...

    John Millea
    11h ago
    Congratulations to the Class 1A state speech champions.

    John Millea
    12h ago
    Class 1A state speech awards ceremony. pscp.tv/w/a8qAhDF6dktO

    John Millea
    12h ago
    Apple Valley gym is filling up for Class 1A state speech awards ceremony. Live video coming up...

    John Millea
    13h ago
    Most dangerous lead in hockey...

    John Millea
    13h ago
    There've been more than 1,000 views of Periscope video of yesterday's 2A state speech awards ceremony. 1A awards live today around 5:30.


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