For the third consecutive year, Southwest Baptist University’s Speaking Bearcats forensics team triumphed as the champions in Overall Team Sweepstakes at the annual Missouri Association of Forensics Activities (MAFA) State Championship tournament held Feb. 13-14 on the campus of Crowder College in Neosho.
Pictured from Left to Right (back row): Head Coach Dr. David Bailey, Reed Dressler, Tyler Middleton, Nik Fischer, Will Wheeler, LeeAnn Maloney, Lydia Swisher, Lyndal Doherty, Assistant Coach Mrs. Rebecca Godsey. From Left to Right (front row): Meg Burns, Tiana Brownen, Kensey Slone.
The event involved various categories of speaking, debate and oratory competition, in which the Speaking Bearcats competed with entrants from 14 other schools. Due to the tournament’s “open” format, which allows the inclusion of participants from other states, Missouri students were joined in the competition field by others from states such as Kansas, Illinois and Kentucky.
In addition to excelling in the overall sweepstakes, the Speaking Bearcats also finished first in individual event sweepstakes and debate sweepstakes.
SBU had five debate teams in the tournament, all of which posted a winning record, such as partners Meg Burns and Will Wheeler finishing as semifinalists in parliamentary debate. In public forum debate, the Speaking Bearcats received two top spots, with Tiana Brownen and her partner Lydia Swisher finishing first and partners Kensey Slone and Tyler Middleton placing second.
Although they did not advance to elimination rounds, two teams—Reed Dressler and Nik Fischer in parliamentary debate and LeeAnn Maloney and Lyndal Doherty in public forum debate—were recognized for their winning records.
In their final MAFA tournament, two SBU seniors succeeded in various categories of competition, including Meg Burns, who earned first place in informative speaking; second in communication analysis; second in duo interpretation, alongside her partner Lydia Swisher; third in impromptu; and sixth in poetry. Meanwhile, senior Nik Fischer was awarded first place in extemporaneous speaking; second in oratory; third in informative speaking; and fifth in communication analysis.
Additionally, both Burns and Fischer placed highly in the pentathlon competition, in which results from competitors’ top five individual events are compiled, resulting in Burns placing first and Fischer placing third.
Moreover, for the second year in a row, Fischer earned the honor of representing Missouri at the Interstate Oratorical Competition, which annually gathers the two top finishers from each state tournament. This achievement marks the seventh consecutive year in which SBU has had at least one qualifying student move on to the national tournament.
Other MAFA top finishers from SBU include Will Wheeler, with third place in communication analysis, fifth in oratory and sixth in extemporaneous; Lydia Swisher, with second in duo interpretation alongside partner Meg Burns and fourth in duo interpretation with partner Tyler Middleton; Reed Dressler, with sixth in informative speaking; and Lyndal Doherty, with fourth in program of oral interpretation.
Two SBU novices earned special honors, including Kensey Slone, who was named Top Novice in communication analysis and Tiana Brownen, who was named Top Novice in informative, in which she also received second place. Brownen also placed fifth in impromptu and seventh in extemporaneous, earning Top Novice in each.
The team will conclude its 2014-2015 season at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament and Convention, occurring March 4-8 in Athens, Ohio. For more information about the team, please contact Dr. David Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.