Champs awards

Announcing Our Coaches Of The Year and More Community Awards!

We covered the competitive results of our Citywide Championship, but we also recognize that there is much more to celebrate. Each year, we give out community awards that are voted on by our network of coaches, as well as ask teams to reflect on their favorite parts of the year. Find their reflections and who won the awards here!

2024 MSHSL Debate Coach of the Year Awards

Tim Haynes

Teacher Coach of the Year: Tim Hayes (Highland Park)

Tim Haynes has previous experience as a Nordic ski coach, but didn’t have any debate experience before leading our debate team at Highland Park. He leverages his knowledge about coaching outside of debate to build an effective and energetic team. Thanks for all you do!

Cayden Award

Community Coach of the Year: Cayden Mayer (Central HS)

You’ll recognize that smiling face. Cayden has been part of our program for years as a high school debater, alum, middle school coach, and now high school assistant coach! Central is having a fantastic season- and you helped make it possible, Cayden!

Congratulations: You’re Headed to the Urban Debate National Championship!

posing with award

Competitive Points Winners: Kiernan Baxter Kauf & Max Ulven (Central High School)

There are two ways to earn your way to UDNC with MNUDL: by earning the most competitive points, and by earning the community vote. Kiernan and Max have been having an outstanding season, with multiple first place varsity wins. They’ll also get a chance to compete at NSDA!


Community Choice: Audrey Snowbeck & Lily St Dennis (Highland Park)

Based on the community vote, Audrey and Lily will get a chance to compete at the Urban Debate National Championship in Spring 2024! Audrey and Lily were recognized for their many contributions, including time served as middle school coaches. Thanks so much for all you do to contribute to Highland Park and the larger debate community!

What This Season Meant to Our Teams

Central High School

Central High School Team

Central High School had a large and competitive team this year. Beyond winning the JV division and multiple awards – 13 in total! – they reflected on their experience giving back by hosting our Tamar Kaplan Invitational debate tournament.

Marshall Steele, Central High School alum and community coach, said:

“Hosting a tournament isn’t something Central has done since I have been coaching or debating at the school. It was wonderful to see everyone so involved in making the tournament happen and just being able to contribute to the community by putting on a tournament. I love every year seeing this group of kids learn and grow.”

Como Park Senior High School

Como Park
Three of Como Park debater’s earned speaker awards in the Novice A division!

Teacher coach Josh Lincoln said,

“I am proud that we had success at multiple levels this year, from both our new and returning students. Watching students grow is always really wonderful.”

Highland Park Senior High School

Highland Team

Highland Park swept the community awards with both Teacher Coach of the Year and the community vote for UDNC attendees! Carmina Stensland also earned a Novice B speaker award.

Zach Glaser, community coach and alum of Highland Park, shared:

“I had an amazing time with the students this year. I am amazed by how adaptable, kind, and smart Highland Park debaters are. They were so willing to make friends with others on the team and support each other; it always brings smiles to my face. Thanks for the great season, team!”

Johnson High School

JOhnson HS

Previous Teacher Coach of the Year Deb Hansmeier returned for another year of debate with Johnson High School! Josiah Bredeson and Sai Yang both went home with speaker awards in the Novice B division.

One of her team members told the crowd,

“I am really proud of us as a team this year. We have been working really hard and seeing the results. Our coaches have been amazingly supportive and helped us improve so much.”

Prior Lake

Champs medals

This year, Prior Lake had its first official season with the MNUDL. Students in their junior and senior year advocated for having the debate team, and they fundraised and made connections to make it possible! Prior Lake went home with 5 speaker awards total in the Novice Division.

They said at awards,

“This is our first year ever as a team and I’m proud of us for even having a competitive debate team, because it took effort on our parts to make it happen. Beyond that, I am proud of us for collaborating, supporting, and depending on one another instead of getting into the competition and trying to tackle things all on our own. Thank you, Ms. Roberts, for being our teacher coach and making debate possible at Prior Lake.”

Roosevelt High School


Did you know Roosevelt High School hosts a team for each of our programs: policy debate, Spanish Debate, East African Debate, and Financial Literacy Leadership Debates? Debate is part of the fabric of Roosevelt’s school! We want to congratulate Adler Young, who was a JV semifinalist and runner-up speaker.

Tom Mickelson, community coach and alum of Roosevelt High School, shared:

“I am proud of Roosevelt debaters for making debate work for them this year. They all have jobs, other activities, family commitments, and school to worry about, but they made time for debate. They were intentional about deciding what tournaments they could be at and managed their schedules so they could be at practice as often as possible. They learned to make hard choices with their limited time and energy – and because of that, I saw them learn and grow as people and debaters this year.”


Roseville Team

Roseville’s team of coaches, including Michael O’Neal, Roseville alum and community coach, helped facilitate a successful year for the team. Congratulates to the partnership of Berhane & Kassa for being Novice A Semifinalists!

Their students say,

“This was an amazing year because there was an incredible amount of learning for the Roseville team. Everyone has put in an astounding amount of effort to become better debaters efforts pay off and feel more confident in their abilities. This is in no small part to our coaches, Ms. Eliason, who has done a splendid job of organizing us, and our assistant coaches Michael and Becky, who helped us learn about how to make our own cases and defend them well. It was overall an amazing year and I am so so happy I got to be a part of it.”

South High School


Don’t let the photo fool you- South debaters were traveling to other tournaments during our Championship! South High School had a strong season and tournament, even with one student. Congratulations to Adrian for earning a top 5 JV speaker award. Sandy Bolton Barrientos, Community Coach, told the crowd,

“I am so happy to coach at South. I want to make a shout out to Adrian, who shows up very consistently and is willing to go to as many tournaments as possible. Also, there are a lot of debaters I have known since they were in 7th grade that are graduating this year and it has been amazing to see everyone grow. We had some great opportunities this year we got to go on a field trip to the End Youth Prisons exhibit and learn about mutual aid in the Twin Cities.”

Tartan High School

Tartan HS Team
Congratulations to Tartan High School for another excellent season! Tartan debaters made semifinals in every division and earned 6 speaker awards, including the runner-up speaker award for Hannah Howes.

Jamie Maiers, Tartan HS teacher coach and previous Teacher Coach of the year winner, said,

“I want to say thank you to my team, there were things we had to overcome this year and they did a great job of working through that adversity. Shout out to MNUDL for supporting us through it and our new coach Dylan Ek who showed up this year and and crushed life!”

Lillie Perez, who earned a top 10 speaker award in the JV division, told the crowd,

“Thank you for the unforgettable moments, shared victory, and lessons that shape our character. As we bid farewell to the season we look ahead with optimism and a commitment to continued excellence. Here’s to the end of a remarkable season and the beginning of new opportunities.”


Edison Team

Edison’s team has been growing steadily this year, and what a capstone for a great season: congratulations to the partnership of Lisin and Keenan for earning speaker awards and being Finalists in the Novice B division!

Abdi, senior debater, shared with us:

“Something I love about the debate team this year is the level of commitment and growth I saw on the team. We all came to practice everyday, looked to each other for support, and learned from our mistakes. I also feel the debate team is much more part of our school community and we saw a lot more recognition this year than we ever have. We also doubled our numbers in the last few years and have a bigger team than we have in the past.”

Washington Technology Magnet School

Wash Tech Team

Thank you so much to WTMS for serving as our gracious hosts, like they usually do for this tournament. It’s a wonderful space to celebrate!

We want to send our congratulations to Ku Say Moo, who was the champion of the Novice A division and also won a speaker award! Two of WTMS’ Junior Varsity debaters also earned speaker awards at this tournament.

Community coach Sabrina Kowal announced,

“This is a great squad. Every single person works so hard. Our Varsity students moved up from JV, but kept their unwavering commitment to the research they are interested in – they are dedicated scholars. I am also proud of our students who moved up to JV. They work super hard at practice and think very critically about their evidence. They examine it closely and always want to know how they can use it better. Even our new addition in novice A showed up ready to win and has been very successful. Thank you, coach David Quosig, for all your hard work.”

Washburn High School


Washburn capped off a great season with a particularly strong performance in the Novice A division! Congratulations to Benjamin Cahoy-Nanneman, who earned the Top Speaker award and was a finalist along with partner Carson Gulliford. Teammate Marion Holley also earned a speaker award.

Maren Lien, Washburn’s community coach, reflected on the season experience so far:

“Washburn has a very young, small, but dedicated team. They show up to as many tournaments and practice as they can, and show up ready to be part of a team. I am excited to see what students do as they progress, but more than that, I think they are a wonderful example of what makes debate more than an activity. When you make a community, debate becomes more than the rounds you are in and the arguments you are making. It is what makes debate so meaningful and fun to many of us, and I am proud of the Washburn team for their commitment to that.”

Support outstanding teams like these. Make a donation today!