Iowa Forensic League State Tournament

2022 — NSDA Campus, IA/US


Once you have read the nominations, click HERE to vote!




Loan Nguyen - DM Roosevelt High School - nominated by students


Roosevelt team members Sophie Johnson and Hattie McCann submit Mx. Loan Nguyen, head coach of the DM Roosevelt team, for consideration as Coach of the Year. Writes team member McCann: “They are the best!” 



Maggie Rietz - Davenport West High School - nominated by Joe Rankin


Maggie Rietz wears many hats.  Maggie serves as the Davenport West head coach.  Maggie has served as the East Iowa District Chair for the last 2 terms.  Maggie is an active member of the Iowa State Education Association.  Maggie also serves as a member of the Iowa Forensic League Executive Committee.  So, beyond being a full-time teacher, spouse to Arron Rietz (fellow Davenport West teacher), and a mother of 2 - she finds the time to work in all the above roles and more.  I'm not sure how she does it.  Even after all those roles, Maggie is always doing her best to ensure the Speech/Debate community is served and does her best to support new programs, contact coaches, and generally just keep this world moving forward...even when it does everything it can to go off-course.  Maggie has had the same struggles we all have had during these pandemic years and I wish her the best of luck as she navigates the ever-changing battlefield of education.  Maggie is always an advocate for education and especially our endeavors on the Speech and Debate frontlines.  It is for these reasons I believe Maggie Rietz would make an excellent candidate for the IFL Coach of the Year Award.  Thank you for your consideration.  


Cheri Shatto - Okoboji High School - nominated by Jesse Meyer


I write today to nominate Cheri Shatto of Okoboji High School for the IFL’s coach of the year. Cheri has, for the last two decades, educated debaters from Spencer and Okoboji. From her humble beginnings as a parent judge and after the former coach resigned, she has worked tirelessly to coach and mentor debate students. She has never been shy of letting her students try new events, even if that meant learning a new event for herself. Under her leadership, Spencer High School saw its longest streak of national qualifiers (2002-2008) in modern times, longest streak of tournament breaks (2002-2008), and breaks at state (2002-2006.) . At Okoboji HS, she has an amazing streak of deep elim debates at state in multiple events and a string of impressive national qualifiers. Her alumni have gone on to earn their doctorates, travel the world in the name of charity, or enter politics. She has always been there for her students whether it be family issues, school issues, or just random life problem. Being stuck in the hospital last year, Cheri was one of the people that I kept in touch with to keep me grounded and calm. She has met buses at 4:30 AM to make the drive to Atlantic Iowa, ran through airports to catch planes, and provided help no matter what time of day. She has the patience of a saint. Like a parent, she might have gotten angry at things we did (and we might have done things to warrant this) but she always had our best interest in mind and each transgression was used as a teaching moment. 


From personal experience, I have worked with Cheri since becoming a head coach in 2013. We often talk about topics, caching methods, tournament procedure, and the occasional venting session. 20 years ago, I was one of her first freshman in her first year of coaching. Since then, I’ve never stopped learning. My coaching style has changed, morphed, and at times, mutated; but deep down inside, the lessons I learned at Spencer still shine through. She gave me my first chance to tab a tournament, coach middle schoolers, and first official post HS job. Like every open of her alums, she gave me a chance to explore what I enjoyed. I’ve taken these lessons with me into my professional career.


In short, for the last 2 decades, Cheri has done more than educate students. She has been a parent to her alumni. Everything she has done and will continue do to has revolved around the motto “In the service of students.” From case editing, practice debates, late night drives, or taking away my caffeine gum because it wasn’t healthy, she has always kept her students first and foremost. Therefore, I am honored to nominate Cheri Shatto for the 2022 IFL’s Coach of the Year. 



Tim Sheaff - Dowling Catholic - nominated by Dave McGinnis


There literally cannot be a more deserving coach for recognition as Coach of the Year than Tim Sheaff. 


In the history of the activity there has never been a coach who has accomplished so much and assisted so many while at the same time never seeking recognition for himself. Tim is a leader in the national forensics community, serving as a past member of the NSDA Board of Directors as well as the Nationals awards ceremony emcee for many years. Tim is a leader in Iowa both officially, serving on both NSDA and IFL committees many times, and unofficially, acting as a mentor to new coaches (myself included, lo those many years ago) and as a sounding board and guide for all of us. He knows everything there is to know about forensics; he can coach and judge anything; and I can count on zero hands the number of times I’ve reached out to Tim for help with something and haven’t received prompt and gracious assistance.


Of course, this is to say nothing of the thousands of students that Tim has coached, a huge proportion of which have gone on to experience high-level success on the local and national circuits. Under Tim’s leadership, Dowling has sponsored some of the best interp, public address, and debate students in the nation. His speakers and debaters are competitive every season. His program supports as many of our tournaments as humanly possible. 


If Iowa Speech and Debate were the music industry, Tim Sheaff would be a combination of Prince, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. He is a superstar of competitive forensics, and it is long past time that the IFL recognized him for being the standard to which we all strive.