Speech team places for nationals in home competition

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Speech and Debate Team met for their third competition of the season Saturday where members performed all day and followed up with an award ceremony.

This competition, known as the Larry Schonor Invitational Tournament, holds a special meaning to the speech team as it’s annually hosted to honor the former director of the team. 

In this conference there were speech teams from all around the region that came to compete all day long. The team usually participates in about six to 10 competitions each year but, due to COVID, this number has fluctuated. 

Tristen Xiong, a sophomore and a member of the speech team, said she’s proud to be a part of a team that works together in order to improve.

“I really love the team environment along with all the activities we do as a team outside of practice. Not only that but the support from all members on the team just makes it an even better experience,” Xiong stated.

Douglas Roberts, a graduate assistant coach for the speech team, moved to Mankato to be a grad student to continue his passion for speech. 

“I love the activity as a former competitor myself who has had some national success. I especially love this event and I wanted to continue to work on it because it’s something I put so much into,” Roberts commented.

“That’s why I joined the grad program here, so I’m on the forensic program. It’s [the program] meant to train coaches so we can continue this activity for other programs around the nation and that’s important to me.” 

Roberts said being on speech teams throughout his life helped guide him and taught him life lessons.

“I think it also gives you a lot of experience and not being biased on things,” he said. “Sometimes people argue about things on the speech team that you don’t necessarily believe in. You have to do that with respect for the other side and you have to be able to understand that perspective to explain something. Some people don’t understand that not agreeing with someone isn’t a bad thing. Everyone is supposed to have different opinions otherwise we’d all be the same person.”

At the end of this competition, the MNSU Speech and Debate Team placed in nine categories, all in 6th place and higher. The team will compete in the Vocal Viking Tournament at Bethany Lutheran College later this month.

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