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Steve Sparks Memorial Tournament

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General information

This is a High School tournament in Wisconsin.

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Welcome to the 2024 Steve Sparks Memorial Tournament at Eau Claire North

School Map - Click of "Files for Download" above

Tournament day information:

Oral Interpretation of Literature Order: Round 1 Prose, Round 2 Poetry, Round 3 Prose

Storytelling Order: Round 1 A Mystery Story, Round 2 A story about money / greed, Round 3 A story of advocacy / allyship

8:30 Extemp and Radio draw begins in the Learning Center room 679 next to Auditorium entrance

8:30 Judge meeting in Auditorium. No student meeting this year.

9:00 Round 1

10:15 Round 2

11:30 Round 3

12:00 (or after Round 3): Free lunch for everyone

1:00 (approximately) postings and final round

Awards will be as soon as possible after final round

Judge notes:

Category Rules - Modified for Steve Sparks 2024: https://www.speechwire.com/files/15753-Steve%20Sparks%20Category%20Rules%202024.pdf

Ballots will be available at https://live.speechwire.com

In a state-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiative, we offer the following guidance:
Complaints or questions related to DEIB should be brought to the tab room, or if there are unresolved issues after the tournament here is a link to an intake form
Gender neutral restrooms are located in the rear of the lounge room 600.
A quiet space is available in the rear of the lounge room 600.



Eau Claire North 2024 Invitation.pdf

Eau Claire North High School Forensics

1801 Piedmont Road, Eau Claire, WI 54703



















Dear Coach,


We are excited to invite you and your students to celebrate Valentine’s week by participating in the seventeenth annual Steve Sparks Memorial Forensics Tournament at Eau Claire North High School on Saturday, February 10, 2024. This tournament is both WFCA and WISDAA friendly, and students may double or triple enter. The Valentine’s theme is a reflection of our love for our students, the activity of forensics, and all our dear friends involved and especially for the memory of Steve Sparks.


The tournament will have 3 rounds plus a final round. There will be awards for all finalists and sweepstakes awards for the top teams. We also offer the following additional awards:

Best Double-Entry: Top 3 (based on prelim totals)

Best Novice Entry: Top 3 (based on prelim totals – best category if double entered)


FREE LUNCH! Continuing this year: Lunch will be included in the registration fees. We are bringing back the macaroni and cheese and other food for all students, judges, coaches, and bus drivers.

ENTRY FEES: The entry fee will be $10 per individual entry and $14 per group. Please bring one judge for every 5 entries with a maximum of 5 affiliated (non-clean) judges per school.  Hired judges will be available for $20 per uncovered entry.

ENTRY FEE WAIVER AVAILABLE if needed:  We want as many participants as possible. If your budget this year does not have any provisions for invitational tournaments, just let us know and we can come up with a plan. Schools will still be required to provide 1 judge per 5 entries or pay the hired judge fee.


Registration will be through https://speechwire.com

The deadline for team registration will be at 5 pm Saturday, February 3. We ask that all entries are "finalized" by 5pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024. Drops after this time will not reduce your fees nor reduce your judging requirements.  Checks are payable to: North High School.


Feel free to contact us if you have questions.


Cole Pankratz





Scott Peterson





Amber Schoeder

Greta Wiederhold



Special notes for 2024

Radio Announcing: Competitors may bring their own devices for Radio preparation, and they may use the devices in the performance room for reading the script. Paper copies of the source packet will also be available.

Extemporaneous Speaking and Radio Announcing Internet use: Competitors in Extemporaneous Speaking and Radio Announcing may utilize the internet during their preparation for research but not for communicating with people or accessing pre-written speeches or outlines.

Online ballots: All judges will be required to bring a Wi-Fi enabled portable device for receiving the judging schedule, writing critiques, and submitting ranks.


Registration limitations:

  • Unlimited number of entries are allowed in each category.
  • Double or triple entries are allowed (students may compete in multiple events).
  • Please use SpeechWire’s tools to designate which of your judges are clean (have no school or team affiliation other than you hiring them to judge) versus dirty (coaches or others close to your team). This will give us more options for scheduling judges. Each school may bring a MAXIMUM of 5* dirty judges; schools with more than 25 entries will be required to fulfill their judging quota by bringing clean judges or hiring clean judges from us.  If you have extra clean judges, you may contact us and we may hire them.
    *Depending on tournament size we might allow more than 5 dirty judges.



  • The deadline for team registration is 5 pm Saturday, February 3 and entries is 5pm Wednesday, February 7.
  • Drops after this time will not reduce your fees nor your judging requirement.
  • For the Best Novice Award, indicate which of your students are in their first year competing at the high school level.



Please keep your SpeechWire entries updated as soon as you know about changes so that we can best plan for the tournament rooms and judging needs. One student drop might mean an entire section and judge slot can be eliminated.

Tournament day drops MUST be called in on Saturday morning before your team departs for North. If you have valuable information about which students are missing that morning, we need to know prior to your arrival so that the schedules can be adjusted to balance round sizes and make the tournament run smoothly. REPORT ANY KNOWN CHANGES to 608 345-4556.

Finally, if your team has specific restrictions or needs, please let us know and we can work best to accommodate. We want the best tournament experience possible for all in attendance.





Tournament Schedule for February 10
The North High School main parking lot and entry doors are on the north side of the building facing Piedmont Road. Look for the giant husky dog on the roof.




5:00 / as soon as possible

Report drops or changes to Scott Peterson


7:45 – 8:15

Registration in Foyer under Husky


General Meeting in Auditorium for all judges
Radio and Extemp draw in IMC


Round One


Round Two


Round Three

After a brief break for lunch, the approximate times are:


Posting of Results in Commons


Final Rounds


Awards in the Auditorium





Tournament Guidelines / Category Rules


We welcome WFCA and WISDAA schools, and students may perform for the category rules for which they have prepared. To facilitate the slight differences in rules we have a basic overall philosophy: rules from either organization will be honored. If an element of a performance is allowed in either WFCA or WISDAA, it will be allowed at this tournament.


Demonstration Speaking / Expository Speaking / Informative Speaking


WFCA and WISDAA have recently made changes regarding these categories, and the rules are similar. These are the guidelines for our tournament:

  • Demonstration Speaking is no longer a category, but speeches of that style may be performed in the revised Informative Speaking.
  • Expository Speaking has been added as a category, with a 5 minute time limit and no visual aids permitted. Notes are permitted and unrestricted.
  • Informative Speaking has been changed from 6 minutes to 10 minutes, visual aids may be used or worn, and the Criteria for Evaluation subpoints were rewritten. Notes are permitted and unrestricted. Optionally, an entry may have two presenters. This will count as a single entry (not a group category) for registration fees.

Some other examples of blending the rules include:


  1. Group Interpretive Reading and Play Acting will have 12 minute time limits.
  2. One 4x6 note card will be permitted in Oratory. For other categories that allow notes, they will have no specific limits, formats, or dimensions.
  3. There will be no separate Public Address event, but students in Public Address can be entered in Oratory, and the judges will be alerted to this.
  4. Chairs, etc. MAY be used in Solo and Group Interp. Optional speaker’s / reader’s stand may be used in the categories involving scripts or notes.


*For the WFCA rules, go to https://wfcaforensics.org
*For the WISDAA rules, go to https://wisdaa.org





A word about Steve Sparks . . .


Steve was our assistant coach and an alumnus of the North High School Forensics program. Steve died unexpectedly on August 2, 2007, due to a pulmonary embolism at the age of 26.  He had been planning to attend law school.


He came in every day, Monday through Friday, for seven months out of the year to coach for us. For three years, he was a volunteer – we paid him almost nothing. He was the gentle giant who ran our Radio and Extemp draw. He also judged for us and traveled with us on all of our trips.


It is in honor of our dear friend, mentor, coach, and colleague that we have decided to name our tournament the Steve Sparks Memorial Forensics Tournament. If you knew Steve at all, then you know what we have lost and you understand how lost we are without him.



Manager contact information

Cole Pankratz
Email address: cpankratz@ecasd.us
Phone number: 7154123612

Mailing address

1801 Piedmont Rd
Eau Claire, WI 54703

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