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SMSU High School Speech Tournament

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General information

This is a High School tournament in Minnesota.

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SMSU Speech Invitational Tournament

The SMSU Forensics Team invites you and your students to attend the SMSU Speech Invitational Tournament the week of March 8th, 2021.  We are excited to host online and we are confident you and your students will have a fun and educational experience.

Due to concerns about COVID-19, our tournament will be entirely asynchronous! All MSHSL events will be offered (with the exception of Discussion) along with POI and Impromptu. This year, the contest will offer four rounds of competition in each event, with the final results being determined by the results of the preliminary rounds.  The finalists in each category will receive awards and the top three teams in three divisions (if number of entries warrant) will be given sweepstakes awards.  In addition, the top three Junior High competitors will be recognized in each category so be sure to bring your younger competitors along. 

TL:DR Details

  • Tournament will be fully asynchronous with 4 prelim rounds and no finals
  • Entries and video links are due to Speechwire on Monday @ 6 p.m. CST
  • Content warnings are encouraged to give adequate warning to judges/competitors
  • No late adds are allowed
  • Rounds will be judged from Tuesday through Friday @ 4 p.m. CST
  • All MSHSL categories will be offered (except Discussion) along with POI and Impromptu
  • Each entry will be $3 (including Duo)
  • Each school should bring judges to cover their entries; one judge covers 6 entries
  • Uncovered slots will incur an additional $7 fee each
  • Payments accepted by Venmo, PayPal, or by check (payable to “SMSU Forensics/Ben Walker”)


Full information about competition and fees are listed below. If you have questions feel free to contact Ben Walker by phone (call or text 706-844-2730) or email (benjamin.walker@smsu.edu).





Ben Walker                                                               Julie Walker

Southwest Minnesota State University                Southwest Minnesota State University

Director of Forensics                                              Assistant Director of Forensics

Tournament Director                                             



Fully Asynchronous Tournament Week Schedule


Friday prior @ noon CST:

LP Prompts released on Speechwire

Monday @ 6 p.m. CST:

Entries and videos due to Speechwire

Monday @ 8 p.m. CST:

Fees will be assessed and distributed to teams

Monday @ 10 p.m. CST:

Rounds go live on Speechwire

Friday @ 4 p.m. CST:

Judging feedback/scores due

Friday @ 6 p.m. CST:

Live awards ceremony stream on SMSU team Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/smsuforensics

Friday @ Evening:

Feedback released to coaches via Speechwire


Important Tournament Information

Registration:  This will be on Speechwire. All entries will be confirmed via e-mail.  Be sure to denote Junior High students (grade 9 or lower) on your entry. Students WILL be allowed to double enter at the tournament. 

Late Adds: No adds will be allowed after the event registration closes. Considering the asynchronous format, we don’t anticipate any drops or changes for Individual events, as the complete video will be uploaded with the slot registration by Monday at 6:00 CST.


Video Submission: All video submission links must be put forward through some sort of streaming platform like YouTube. Set the video to “unlisted” for the duration of the tournament. Following judging, we want students to have control over the visibility of the performances, so students may turn the videos to “private” after the awards ceremony on Friday.


We ask that each submitted performance video recording has not been entered into a previous asynchronous tournament. We believe teams will act honorably and submit a fresh, unique performance video made exclusively for that tournament.


Content Warnings: To continue work done across the speech community, we will continue providing a space to input content warnings for pieces. If a student’s performance includes sensitive topic areas they anticipate may be triggering for audience members or judges, we ask you to enter those topics into the content warning space on Speechwire at the time you submit your entries.



Judges will complete preliminary round evaluations from Tuesday morning through 4 p.m. CST Friday. All ballots and scores must be completed by the deadline, or schools will be charged a dropped/no show judge fee ($50).


Judge Integrity Pledge

Coaches and students value high-quality feedback. Therefore, we request all judges complete the Judge Integrity Pledge prior to completing judging responsibilities for the tournament. This will be emailed out and a link will be on Speechwire.


Awards:  Awards will be given to the finalists in each event.  Additionally, the top 3 Junior High competitors in each event will be recognized.  Team Sweepstakes awards will be awarded to the top 3 schools in three divisions; open, limited entry and small entry (only two divisions will be used if there are fewer teams attending).  The break between divisions will be at the largest natural break between numbers of total entries.

Fees:  Each school will be assessed a fee of $3 for each individual event/slot entered at the tournament (including Duos). All schools are required to bring one judge for every 6 slots that they enter in the tournament.  For every slot that is not “covered” by a judge there is an additional $7 fee. Make all checks payable to Ben Walker/SMSU Forensics


Costs and Payment Options

$3 for every entry

1 judge covers 6 slots

$7 per uncovered entry slot

$50 per dropped judge

Payments accepted through Venmo, PayPal, or by check

Venmo: @bfulworldlvr


PayPal: Benjamin.michael.walker@gmail.com


SMSU Forensics Attn: Ben Walker

1501 State Street

Marshall, MN 56258



Limited Preparation Events

Limited Preparation Events are tough to handle in an asynchronous tournament. We will not be offering Discussion for this reason. However, the other Draw Events (Storytelling, Extemporaneous Speaking, Extemporaneous Reading, Impromptu Speaking) will still be offered. Students will submit two videos: one for round 1&2 judging and one for round 3&4 judging. Prompts for Draw Events will be posted on Speechwire at noon CST on the Friday before the tournament entry deadline.


Impromptu Rules: Speakers will choose a prompt from the three quotations given. Speakers then have a total of 5 minutes to prepare and give a speech based on the prompt selected; they may use the time at their own discretion. A 15 second grace period is allowed to start to read the prompts. Notes are permitted.  Each speaker will be given the same set of prompts.


We trust all students and coaches to adhere to Limited Prep guidelines and ethical competition choices for preparation. Prep time does not need to be included in the performance video for Extemporaneous Speaking, Extemporaneous Reading, or Storytelling. However, please include prep time in Impromptu videos (this can make starting the video camera easier for students, and assessing time allocation possible for judging).  All Impromptu judges will be reminded to allow an initial 15 seconds for competitors to read the quotations, before beginning time.  

Extemp. Reading Prose: Chapters in "Zero", "Four", "Six", "Eight"
Extemp. Reading Poems: Poems 1-20
Storytelling Stories: Stories 1-9






Accessibility and Inclusion

Nationally, the speech community (students, coaches, and judges) have called for tournaments where student and judge wellness is built into the tournament structures.


Name Pronunciation

Being called by your correctly pronounced name creates an inclusive, welcoming, respectful space. To aid judges and awards readers, please provide student name pronunciation through Speechwire.


Open Door Policy

SMSU Forensics acknowledges the art of performance may be a healing process and/or an opportunity to speak on important, personal topics. As a performer, it is impossible to know all the ways in which content or a performance may unintentionally harm or trigger members of your audience. To better serve the wellness of the speech community, we will be using an open door practice for this tournament.


Judges will be evaluating potentially triggering performances within their home spaces. This means we need to take even more steps to protect their well-being. We strongly urge teams to include content warnings, and if a judge feels concerned about the triggering nature of performances in the assigned round, tournament staff will adjust the judging requirements.


All Week Competition

To enhance the fun, we will be releasing special competitions the entire week of March 8th! Competing students are encouraged to participate! Fun awards and recognition will be presented to the winners of games! More information will be posted on Speechwire and on SMSU team Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/smsuforensics



Manager contact information

Ben Walker
Email address: benjamin.walker@smsu.edu
Phone number: 706-844-2730

Mailing address

1501 State Street
Atten: SMSU Forensics/Ben Walker
Marshall, MN 56258

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