The Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats debate and forensics team competed against 80 other schools in the Pi Kappa Delta national tournament March 20-23 in Indianapolis. SBU won first place in debate sweepstakes, third place in overall sweepstakes and sixth place in individual events sweepstakes.
The SBU debate and forensics team had great success at the 2014 Pi Kappa Delta national tournament.
Front row (l to r): Micah Jordan, Jessica Palen, Kati Clair, Lydia Swisher, Catie Lathrop, Meg Burns, Julie Strubinger, Leah Cleek
Back row (l to r): Taylor Howe, Nik Fischer, Reed Dressler, Brooks Stotts, Maggie Thomas, Will Wheeler
According to Dr. David Bailey, assistant professor of communication arts and director of forensics, this was the largest PKD national tournament yet with 80 schools and more than 800 competitors from across the nation.
“I am very proud of our team, not only for their placement at the tournament, but even more because of the hard work they put in to achieve these results,” Bailey said. “We still have lots of growing to do, but I am pleased with how we did especially since we competed against schools with much larger teams than ours.”
Several individual accomplishments contributed to the team’s debate sweepstakes championship.
Will Wheeler and Meg Burns won the title of national champions in open public forum debate. Lydia Swisher and Kati Clair won the title of national champions in novice public forum debate.
Taylor Howe was named “Outstanding Legislator” in student congress.
Leak Cleek finished as a semifinalist in the open division of public debate and Catie Lathrop finished as a quarterfinalist. Jessica Palen was a semifinalist in novice public debate.
Micah Jordan claimed a few victories in open Lincoln-Douglas debate and was named fifth place speaker.
Although they did not advance to elimination rounds, the open parliamentary debate teams of Nik Fischer and Reed Dressler and Julie Strubinger and Maggie Thomas each won several debates contributing to the overall team win. Brooks Stotts also claimed several debate victories in novice public debate.
The SBU Speaking Bearcats also had many individual success in speech events contributing to their third place overall sweepstakes result.
There were so many competitors in individual events this year that there were quarterfinals and semifinals in addition to the traditional finals rounds. A quarterfinalist is in approximately the top 25 in the nation, semifinalists in the top 12 and finalists in the top 6.
Nik Fischer won third place in impromptu speaking, an event which had more than 250 entries this year. He also earned fourth place in extemporaneous speaking. Fischer advanced to the semifinals of persuasive speaking and received an “excellent” rating in after dinner speaking. These strong finishes earned him fourth place in pentathalon, an award to recognize top individual events performers.
Meg Burns finished as a semifinalist in persuasive speaking, quarterfinalist in program of oral interpretation, quarterfinalist in prose and was a semifinalist in communication analysis.
Julie Strubinger reached the semifinals of communication analysis and quarterfinals of extemporaneous speaking.
Will Wheeler finished as a quarterfinalist in extemporaneous speaking.
Reed Dressler was a semifinalist in impromptu speaking.
Lydia Swisher was a quarterfinalist in both program of oral interpretation and prose interpretation. She also reached the quarterfinals of duo improvisation with her partner, Kati Clair.
Maggie Thomas received an “excellent” award in persuasion.
The partnership of Jessica Palen and Leah Cleek reached the semifinal round of duo improvisation.
Catie Lathrop, Micah Jordan and Brooks Stotts also had solid performances in preliminary rounds of individual events that contributed to the team’s overall success.
The team was coached by faculty members, Dr. David Bailey and Mrs. Rebecca Godsey. They were assisted by alumni/assistant guest coaches Amy Bopp, Jordan Hart and Justin Wessels.
“We look forward to continuing to develop our forensics program here at SBU,” Bailey said. “We believe that there are even better things to come.”