Big Sky Speech and Debate named top team in Montana

The Big Sky Speech and Debate Team wrapped up its record breaking 2017-2018 season in Helena
on February 9-10, receiving an award from the National Speech and Debate Association which
named Big Sky as the Leading Chapter Award for the State of Montana:

This coveted honor, based on student participation throughout the school year, is the highest
recognition your school can receive from the National Speech and Debate Association... Out of more
than 3,000 member schools nationwide, your school is one of only 110 to receiving the Leading
Chapter Award.

In addition, the team tied a school record during the 2017-2018 State Tournament in Great Falls,
narrowly placing 6th behind Skyview and Sentinel.  This was a true team effort, with a school record
18 students & entries scoring points, led by Team Captains Kyle Fussell, Tswm Seeb Vang, Devin
Jacaruso, Bailey Carlson, and Madison McDonald.  

Abigail Racicot was the state runner-up in Humorous Interpretation, while Tswm Seeb Vang
placed 4th in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  Both were named to the All State Team.  They were joined
as finalists by 5th place finishers Bailey Carlson in Humorous Interpretation and Brady McBride in
Memorized Public Address.

In addition, more than a dozen other students across all grades scored points for the team as
semifinalists, some in multiple events, including Kyle Fussell & Tyler Bisson, Eryka Mclean,
Howard Szabo, Bailey Carlson & Emma Blonda, Sierra Kirk, Emma Blona, Savannah Holgate,
Isabella Nichols, Madison McDonald, Fiona Morrow, Anneke Van Regenmorter, and Griffin

State followed a record regular season where Big Sky placed in the top 5 at every Speech and
Debate tournament at which it competed, bringing home 4 team trophies ranging from 1st to 5th. In
addition, the team ended the season ranked as the 4th largest team in Montana, as recognized by
the national association, behind only perennial winners Bozeman, Flathead, and Glacier.
Head Coach Nick Malinak was recognized by the national association as a Diamond Coach, to be
awarded at the National Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, for coaching students to over 15,000 points
over the course of 10 seasons.

Big Sky Speech and Debate’s team motto is “Raise the Bar’.  For the past four years, the team has
continued each time to raise the bar to an entirely new level, including hosting the largest Speech
and Debate Middle School Camp in Montana history.  Even more impressive than its competitive
success, this year’s students embodied the team’s core belief that winning and teamwork can come
from a place of empathy.  This year’s team theme was Shakespeare’s quotation “Past is Prologue”,
and for seniors and returners alike, the 2017-2018 season is just the beginning...