Tricounty News

Kimball hosts Empress Invitational

Kimball Speech Team members and their parents hosted the third annual Empress Speech Invitational Saturday, March 8, at Kimball Area High School. Twenty-four teams from the Central Minnesota area participated in 13 MSHSL categories. The tournament is named in honor of Angela Provost Sandal, who taught at Kimball for many years and built a dominant speech team that won many championships in the 1980s and 1990s. On her first day of classes each year, Angela would greet her students and invite them to call her Empress, a title which certainly fit both the grandness of her personality and her teaching style. This year at the tournament, judges were also honored. Speech judges are hired by the schools attending to judge and evaluate speakers, both against other speakers and on their own merit. For 29 years, Kimball judge Seth Parent offered both helpful criticism and useful advice for the speakers he observed. He was initially hired by Angela, and "inherited" by former coach Molly Olson and current coach Jody Markgraf. Seth was a much valued part of the Central Minnesota speech culture in his judging prowess and passion for speech programs. He died suddenly last fall at his home - he was just 50 years old. In Seth's honor, two judges, nominated by head coaches, received the Seth Parent Award of Judging Excellence: April Kummrow from New London-Spicer and Julie Lloyd, who judges for BBE and Minnewaske.  Champions in each category were crowned "Emperor" or "Empress" of their category. This year's champions were: Creative Expression - Jason Kaiser, St. Cloud Cathdral; Serious Drama - Zach Scwartz, EVW; Discussion - Vanessa Richter, Albany; Duo Interpretation - Wermerskirchen and Allen, NL-S; Extemporaneous Reading - Kayla Barthel, Upsala-Swanville Area; Extemporaneous Speaking - Kadyn Wittman, Willmar; Great Speeches - Deviare Ramirez, Willmar; Humorous - Kaitlin Burlingame, Paynesville; Informative - Allison Croat,  St. Cloud Cathedral; Original Oratory - Amanda Haggen, Buffalo; Serious Poetry - Noah Gahm, Milaca; Serious Prose - Anna Johnson, NL-S; and Storytelling - Shane Olmscheid, BBE. Trophies were given to Large, Medium, and Small teams for first and second places, and a "frog trophy" for third place. In Large teams, Willmar took first place with 445 points, St Cloud Cathedral with 379 points, and BBE took the frog with 341 points. In Medium teams, Milaca took first with 241 points, EVW took second with 187 points, and Melrose took the frog with 135 points. In Small teams, first place went to Sauk Centre with 139 points, second place went to Paynesville with 100 points, and the frog went to Watertown-Mayer with 89 points. Kimball students receiving honors included: Chelsey Maus, eighth grade, placing fourth in Extemporaneous Reading; in Serious Prose, Kelsey Klein and Abby Zoller received Honorable Mentions; and in Storytelling, Lindsey Pramann received an Honorable Mention. Kimball travels next week to Milaca; the bus leaves at 6:45 a.m. Jodi Markgraf