College speech teams to compete for state titles, national qualifications at Concordia College

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Concordia College invites the public to catch lively debates and passionate speeches during the Minnesota State Intercollegiate Speech and Debate Championship Tournament Feb. 16-17. It’s anticipated to be the largest Minnesota tournament in 10 years.

The event is open to any Minnesota community college, college, or university. New this year, the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association invited schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin that don’t have state competitions.

In addition to determining a tournament champion in 12 categories, judges will crown the highest finishing competitor from a Minnesota school as state champion.

Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson and Concordia President Colin Irvine will judge the finals for oratory at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17. The top two Minnesota finishers in that competition advance to the national Interstate Oratorical Association contest in April to represent the state. The IOA is the nation’s oldest competitive collegiate speaking association and is celebrating its 150th event this year.

The tournament is free to attend. Most events will take place in the Integrated Science Center on Concordia’s campus. The schedule and results can be found at Parking information can be found at


Also at the state event, Concordia and the MCFA will honor former coach Dr. Cindy Larson-Casselton, professor of communications studies at Concordia, who is retiring at the end of the semester.

“She has been a constant and fierce supporter of the team,” said Dominic Meyers, the assistant director of speech and a communication studies instructor at Concordia. “She has this deep and genuine care for each and every student and celebrates every improvement as a massive success. That’s difficult for coaches, and she makes it easy.”


Meyers says participating in speech and debate allows students a space to learn public speaking, argumentation, organization, and self-confidence. And one of the biggest benefits is learning advocacy.

“For many students, it’s the first opportunity in their life to really spread the messages that they care about and that they want the world to hear,” he said.