Concordia speech team prospers once again during 2023-24 season

Top Row (L-R): Jonah Krogstad '27, Isaac Blashack '26, Josh Kramer '24 Middle Row (L-R): Austin Fellman '27, Kadar Yusuf '25, Brennan Jensen '26 Front Row (L-R): Emma Ravnass '27, Sumaya Abukar '27, Emily Liddell '24, Paige Bertelsen '27

Throughout their 2023-24 season, Concordia speech team members excelled competitively, earning nine team awards and 84 individual awards among the 10 students who competed.

The team competed at 16 tournaments in total. Throughout the season, the team consisted of Emily Liddell '24, Josh Kramer '24, Kadar Yusuf '25, Isaac Blashack '26, Brennan Jensen '26, Emma Ravnass '27, Austin Fellman '27, Jonah Krogstad '27, Paige Bertelsen '27, and Sumaya Abukar '27 and was coached by Dr. Darren Valenta and Dominic Meyers.

The Minnesota state tournament, hosted at Concordia, was one of the team's best this season, with a second-place sweepstakes award, as well as 16 individual awards. Two competitors, Liddell and Kramer, were also selected to the all-state team.

The team also saw great success at the American Forensic Association (AFA) national tournament. With six competitors, two of whom made the quarterfinals (Liddell and Jensen), the team took home second place in the Small Team sweepstakes and 26th place in overall sweepstakes.

Krogstad, who brought Concordia 13 awards in his first year competing for the school, said the following about his individual success this season:

"I felt very proud of not just my placements in tournaments, but also of how much I've grown as a speaker and as a person. The idea of doing an impromptu speech or especially a debate would have been ridiculous to me 10 months ago, but now they are some of my favorite things to do and I'm very proud of my growth this season."

While the Concordia team was successful competitively, they were also successful in fostering a friendly environment for the surrounding community. The team volunteered at the Great Plains Food Bank, judged high school tournaments for nearby teams, and deepened their connections as a team. 

In future speech seasons, Valenta hopes to reach even further into the community to connect with high school coaches and students to strengthen forensic programs as a whole.

Fellman describes joining speech as "so worth it," and says, "It gives you such a rise in your professional life giving you endless opportunities to do amazing things you may never think you could do!"

Students interested in participating in speech at Concordia can reach out to Valenta at or Meyers at