Seven local speech stars headed to nationals |

Seven local speech stars headed to nationals

Seven local high school speech and debate competitors qualified for nationals. From left are: Megan Lodge, Eagle Valley; Sam Litt (kneeling), Battle Mountain, Noah Seeman, Battle Mountain; Garvin van Dernoot, Battle Mountain; Camryn Woodworth (kneeling_ Battle Mountain, Hailea Stone, Battle Mountain; Lydia Loupe, Eagle Valley. The national finals are June in Birmingham, Ala.
Randy Wyrick| |

National speech and debate Qualifiers

Battle Mountain

Hailea Stone, Original Oratory

Sam Litt, Original Oratory

Noah Seeman, World School Debate

Garvin van Dernoot and Camryn Woodworth, Duet Acting - Humor

Eagle Valley

Lydia Loupe, Original Oratory

Megan Lodge, Original Oratory

Battle Mountain is something like the New England Patriots (sorry Broncos fans) of speech and debate. They’ve sent competitors to the nationals seven times, including the last four consecutive years.

Battle Mountain’s five national qualifiers this year is a school record. Hailea Stone and Sam Litt, both juniors, are headed back to the nationals after both qualified for last year’s big stage.

Camryn Woodworth and Garvin van Dernoot made the nationals in duo interpretation.

Noah Seeman is headed to the nationals in a relatively new event, world schools debate.

“Everyone at nationals is good,” Stone said. “When were competing in the qualifiers, we had no chance to think about going back. We were just trying to stay alive.”

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At the other end of the valley, Eagle Valley is more than holding its own. Eagle Valley’s two national qualifiers equals the most that school has ever sent at once.

Megan Lodge and Lydia Loupe are both sophomores. Both qualified for nationals in informative speaking. In other words, if you were paying attention you’ll be smarter when they’re finished speaking than you were when they started.

Take personal and professional growth, for example. Try things. Some will work, some will not. That’s how you learn, Lodge said.

“Even if you fail, you grow,” Lodge explained.

Experience matters

Loupe reached the rarified air of the nationals last year as a freshman. Competitors there were pretty much just like her.

“It wasn’t as terrifying as I thought,” Loupe said.

One lives and learns, especially at nationals, Litt said.

“It’s fun and eye-opening,” Litt said. “In local and regional meets you operate at one level. At the nationals it’s something else entirely.”

Stone’s trip to last year’s nationals solidified her ability to watch, ask questions and learn.

“When you’re talking to the competition or other coaches, you learn so many ways to do it better,” Stone said.

Seeman’s world schools debate event is a little like congressional debate, only more intelligent. Basically, you have a stated objective and you’re judged on whether you met that objective.

Sometimes you get weeks to prepare, sometimes a half hour. You’re kicking it Old School in both cases. For prep materials you get an almanac and a dictionary. You do not get to use a computer or smart phone.

How you qualify

At state’s, Battle Mountain swept the top four places in original oratory. Stone was your state champion. Litt was second. Both are juniors and both are headed back to nationals for the second straight year.

Van Dernoot and Woodworth won the state title in duet acting/humor.

We should make clear that winning a state title does not qualify you for nationals. To make that trip, you compete in something called National Qualifiers. Depending on your event and how many competitors are in it, you have to finish first or second.

Because it’s head-to-head, you can slog through as many as a dozen rounds in two days to qualify for nationals. Or you can go through that many rounds and still not qualify.

Get through all that and win, you get to travel to the nationals. This year’s is June in Birmingham, Alabama.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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