Spartans Prepare for Speech and Debate Nationals


Sentinel Speech and debate had three event entries qualify for the National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Seniors Max Nordquist, Aspen Weber, and juniors Josie Moretti and Hailey Hiller qualified for the tournament in early February as they have risen to the top of their events. The year has brought challenges and growth that has helped these few become champions. “I didn’t place that much last year,” Public Forum debater Josie Moretti said. The junior has been in speech and debate since her freshman year and notes that she’s seen growth every year. The four have all shared their excitement for travel, competing, and the aquarium as they will embark to Louisville, Kentucky in June. 

Covid has brought challenges, and virtual competitions were some of the hardest to adapt to. Senior Max Nordquist explains that changing events from Lincoln Douglas debate to Legislative debate had its own challenges; then virtual debating was the only option, it became increasingly difficult. “I’m really excited to try Congress [debate] again,” Nordquist told the Scoop. He explained how he started with Lincoln Douglas debate his freshman year and then continued with Congress for his Junior and Senior year. Debate has challenges of its own and has built strong leaders and speakers as well. 

“I found my voice,” Senior Aspen Weber said, “I grew personally as well as in my event.” Weber joined speech and debate her sophomore year as a policy debater. She rejoined after the 2020/21 school year as an Original Oratory speaker and qualified for the national tournament. Also new to her event is Junior Hailey Hiller who remarks that speech and debate helped her confidence as well as many practical skills like public speaking, thinking on the spot, and writing. While the beginning of the season brought struggles for the duo, both Moretti and Hiller were proud of their accomplishments and growth as a team. All of the qualifiers overall are proud of their personal and professional growth in the season and how it has contributed to Sentinel’s Speech and Debate program as a whole. 

The national tournament will include over 1,500 schools from across the country and over 6,000 competitors. With less than one hundred days until the beginning of the tournament, schools in all fifty states will embark on a journey to Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is home to Churchill Downs, the racetrack that hosts the yearly Kentucky Derby race as well as the famous Louisville Slugger Museum and factory where millions of baseball bats are made every year. The event will be held over the course of a week and take on the best and most capable competitors in their events. As we draw closer to June, Sentinel is preparing with other Montana high schools to give it their all at the national tournament. 

The tournament will be held June 12-17 and does not yet have covid restrictions in place.