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Speech and debate team takes first at Laurel tourney

| December 16, 2020 12:55 AM

The Columbia Falls Speech and Debate team topped 19 other schools to take first at the Laurel Invitational tournament over the weekend.

Whitefish took third.

Columbia Falls was able to close the gap in debate and win the tournament by 37 points over Frenchtown 146 to 109, a 55 point reversal from last week, where they took a rare second place in a virtual meet hosted by Whitefish.

Coach Blake Ladenburg was pleased with the performance.

“I told the students that this year was going to be a challenge and they would have to work hard to hold off the competition, and they responded this week. We have to keep up the effort to keep this trajectory going,” Ladenburg said.

The rebound is promising for the team, Ladenburg said, but as assistant coach Mikel Knutson notes, “we are still at the beginning of the season, and we have yet to see everyone’s full team.”

The Wildcats were led by strong performances in debate taking the top two spots in policy debate and the top spot in Lincoln Douglas.

Emma Stephens and Tre Finley won in policy debate and Eddie Mae Chisholm won in Lincoln-Douglas.

Speech was led by second place finishes in dramatic interpretation by Griffin Conger and informative speaking by Aiden Judge. Overall, 13 students placed in the top eight. The team now turns their attention to the virtual tournament this upcoming week being hosted by Havre High School. This will be the last tournament before the holiday break.

Each team needs to provide virtual judges for each tournament if you are interested in judging at any tournament please email

Other Individual Results:

Memorized Public Address

2nd Lillian McDonald

Informative Speaking

2nd Aiden Judge

3rd Taylor Stephens


3rd Chloe Coberley


4th Aiden Judge

Dramatic Interp

2nd Griffin Conger

5th Zack Tillman

6th Chloe Coberley

Policy Debate

2nd Eleanor Hollingsworth and Finley Sundberg

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