MNSU’s Speech and Debate team hosted their annual 2019 Larry Schnoor Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19.
The Larry Schnoor Invitational is in honor of professor emeritus Larry Schnoor, commemorating his contributions to the forensics community.
Katie Brunner, the director of MNSU’s Speech and Debate team, said, “Larry is lovingly named in our community as the godfather of forensics, not only was he the director here for many years, but he is highly involved in the forensics community and the American Forensics Association, which is one of our national tournaments. He has a lot of influence and has been a huge name in our community so it’s an honor for us to say that he comes from Mankato.”
Over 50 competitors gathered together from 11 different schools around the Midwest to compete in 12 different events such as poetry, informative speaking, persuasion, etc.
The invitational has a different theme every year – some fun and some formal. In the past, they had a Frank Sinatra theme where Schnoor himself performed a Frank Sinatra song to the audience during the award ceremony. They even had fun trophies to hand out as they gave martini shakers with Schnoor’s face super imposed onto Sinatra’s
Last year, the invitational did themes in commitment to the university’s goal of the sesquicentennial such as the theme “legacy” where they honored MNSU speech alumni.
This year they wanted to do a fun theme with student’s in the team gathering together to brainstorm and plan.
Brunner said, “What we have done in the past is bring it to the students. This year, we allowed them to make little committees and meet amongst themselves, and they usually vote on the theme. All of it is student driven.”
This year’s theme is “Semi-Schnoor-mal Prom”. Students in the team decorated Armstrong hall with cheesy high-school prom decorations, volunteers dressed up in prom attire, and two students voted by the competitors were elected as prom royalty.
Student volunteers at the event also wanted to make sure the invitational was as accessible as possible.
Samantha Scholl, a volunteer at the invitational and member of the speech team, said, “We ensured the content warnings were in place for potentially triggering topics as often as we could, plus we had a quiet room in case anyone needed to take a break from the stress.”
Since MNSU’s speech and debate team was hosting the invitational, only students who are novice competitors were allowed to compete.
In poetry interpretation, MNSU students Ladna Abader and John Sandstede placed in fourth and fifth respectively. In both prose interpretation and program oral interpretation, Annie Ward placed in second.
Brunner said, “We’re very excited. We had one of our talent grant students compete, it was her very first tournament, and she was one of the poetry breaks. Now she’s really fired up to put together a duo interpretation event with one of our other students. I think that the first tournament is really essential.”
Students who placed in first to sixth place were awarded a miniature gold prom queen figurine. Teams and individual sweepstakes got to take home trophies to display proudly in their cases to their universities.
MNSU got to come in full force in the swing invitational, the “Mustang Stampede”, hosted by Southwest Minnesota State University and co-hosted by MNSU on the following Sunday, Oct. 20.
The Mavericks Speech and Debate Team placed second in overall team sweepstakes at the tournament with nine students placing in numerous categories.
The team got to take home a purple cowboy boot which currently sits proudly in Brunner’s office in Armstrong Hall to showcase their achievement and hard work.