Skip to main content

USD Speech and Debate Places Second at Icebox Invitational

VERMILLION, S.D. — The University of South Dakota speech and debate team competed at the Icebox Invitational Feb. 3-4 hosted by Minnesota State University in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. The team earned second place ahead of South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire.

“We were very pleased with our performance,” said Shane Semmler, USD’s director of speech and debate and associate professor of communications studies. “Our debate teams won more rounds than ever before and our individual competitors all made small to major improvements in their events.”

In parliamentary debate, Bailey Quanbeck, a junior majoring in communications studies and English and Megan Swets, a sophomore majoring in communication studies and English, defeated Dordt College in quarterfinals and South Dakota State University in semifinals before dropping to the University of Minnesota in the tournament’s championship round.

In individual events, Swets placed second in poetry interpretation. Quanbeck placed second in impromptu speaking. Michelle Novak, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders, placed third in impromptu speaking. Tristan Chasing Hawk, a sophomore studying business administration, placed second in prose interpretation and third in dramatic interpretation.

Communication studies sophomore Maria Potratz placed second in children’s literature interpretation, and Rebecca Froehlich, a senior art major, placed second in communication analysis.

There are five more speech and debate events this year including the American Forensics Association championship at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and the National Forensics Association championship at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. In 2016-2017, the USD speech and debate team has competed at 14 tournaments and won nearly 80 individual recognitions, 20 event championships and 10 team awards.

The University of South Dakota speech and debate team is sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, the General Activity Fee, and generous endowments provided by Bob Frieberg and Elaine Miller, Dr. Harold Jordan, and Frank E. Stephan.

The team’s mission and event descriptions are provided on the USD Speech and Debate website. You can follow the team’s progress on Facebook.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.