Ronan Speech & debate gets ready for divisionals

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THE RONAN Speech & Debate team pose for a photo during a recent meet. The Ronan Speech and Debate team is getting ready for the Ronan Divisionals on Jan. 20. (photo by Stephanie Swigart/Special to the Lake County Leader)

The Ronan Speech and Debate team is now coming up on the final stretch run of the season.

The Chiefs and Maidens’ speech and debate coach Stephanie Swigart feels pretty strongly about her team coming down the stretch run of the season that begins Oct. 1 and ends on Jan. 26.

“I think we are doing pretty well,” Swigart said. “We ran 20 in our last tournament and that is close to our full 20 kids that are on our team.”

The Chiefs and Maidens speech and debate team has undergone a transition this season after transitioning from Class B to Class A just like the other competitive sports teams. The Ronan speech & debate team was part of the reclassification because they are governed under the Montana State Activities Association just like the rest of the competitive sports teams.

The transition from B to A has been a difficult one because speech & debate, like wrestling and swimming, is a game of numbers. The more participants you have, the more you are able to score as a team.

“Going into Divisional and State, I know it is going to be a huge difference (between Class B and A),” Swigart said. “We have no idea what we are up against. The coaches and schools there are a lot of powerhouses (in Class A) and we are just going to do our best.”

The speech and debate Divisionals will be hosted here on Jan. 20 at the Ronan Events Center.

“It’s been great because I’ve been really thrilled with our 20 kids and our numbers make a huge difference,” Swigart said. “In several different speech, drama and debates events, if we don’t have enough kids we can’t fill all of those events.”

Swigart said transitioning from a Class B to A school is a “challenge” that she and her team continue to work on to overcome as they prepare for the most crucial part of their season.

“(The transition) has been really challenging and the kids from our school are in drama and musical plays at the same time,” Swigart said. “A lot of my kids mix practice with rehearsals and pep band. That is just what you have to do at the smaller schools is having kids that wear several different hats.”

Swigart said she is “excited” about the possibility for her kids moving forward in Divisionals.

“I think it’s amazing for the opportunities these kids have to be so multifaceted,” she said. “It’s just awesome and they can have some really big opportunities.”

The Ronan Divisionals are still accepting judges for the speech and debate Divisionals. The qualifications are that you have to had graduated before the year 2016 and be willing to show up, be responsible and give your opinion based on what you see, according to Swigart.

“In Class A, most of the schools are significantly bigger than us and because we haven’t seen Libby at any of the meets, I believe that solidifies our place as the smallest Class A school in speech & debate,” Swigart said.

Ronan will try to continue their success at the MHSA Class A Speech & Debate divisionals that will be hosted at the Ronan Events Center on Jan. 20.

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