By LESLEY TOTH
Mille Lacs County Times
More than 300 students gathered at Milaca High School this past Saturday for the Milaca “Smackdown” Invitational speech tournament.
First place winners at the unique event received a festive St. Patrick’s Day hat, a medal and a title belt that any professional wrestling fan could appreciate.
About 20 students from Milaca participated in the event, earning first place as a medium team. Milaca also had a titlebelt champion in Drama with Chloe Chambers. In Creative, Halle Chambers placed sixth, Bailey Whittemore placed sixth in Discussion, Marisa Veurink placed fifth in Ext. Reading, Mitch DeHaan placed fourth in Great Speeches, Felica Cluraghty placed fifth in Informative, Tristen Maetzold placed fifth in Original Oratory, Chelsie Othoudt placed 5th in Poetry and Erin Hackenmueller received an honorable mention.
Cambridge-Isanti High School won the sweepstakes trophy as a team.
At the meet Saturday, March 10 in Kimball, honorable mentions went to Chloe Chambers, Marissa Veurink, Ashley Cope and Sophie Bauer, with Jesa Spry taking seventh in Storytelling, Tristen Maetzold earning eighth in Original Oratory, and Felicia Cluraghty taking eighth in Informative.
Milaca speech students competed this past Tuesday night at the Granite Ridge Conference, hosted by Princeton, an event that had speech coach Audrey French excited.
“We haven’t had a conference for a couple of years now,” French said. “And it’s real important for our kids to experience professional judges before sections.”
The team goes on to contests at Cambridge Saturday, March 24 and subsections at Pine City Saturday, April 3, and sections at home, Saturday, April 14. Winners from the sections competition will go on to compete at the state level.