For the second consecutive year the Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats are the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities (MAFA) state champions in Overall Team Sweepstakes.
The team finished first in overall sweepstakes, first in individual events sweepstakes and tied for first in debate sweepstakes with Truman State University. The tie was broken on the number of breaks into elimination rounds resulting in a second place finish in debate sweepstakes for SBU.
In parliamentary debate, Nik Fischer and Reed Dressler reached the quarterfinals.
In public forum debate, the Speaking Bearcats advanced each of their teams to elimination rounds. The team of Jessica Palen and Leah Cleek finished as quarterfinalists. Meg Burns and Will Wheeler were semifinalists. Kati Clair and Lydia Swisher reached the finals and won second place in public forum debate. However, since the team that beat them in the final round was from out of state, Clair and Swisher were the highest advancing public forum debate team from Missouri earning the title of state champions.
The SBU Speaking Bearcats also performed well in speech events. Nik Fischer placed second in communication analysis, third in informative speaking, second in extemporaneous speaking, fourth place in after dinner speaking, and was the first place finisher and state champion in both oratory and impromptu speaking. Fischer capped off his success with his first place finish in pentathalon, an event recognizing high-performing competitors participating in five or more events.
Burns placed third in oratory, second in prose, fourth in informative speaking, and was the first place finisher in communication analysis. Burns has won the communication analysis event for three straight years. She finished third in the pentathalon.
Julie Strubinger was a semifinalist in impromptu speaking and finished in fifth place in communication analysis.
Dressler finished in sixth place in oratory and was awarded the title of “Top Novice” in the event.
In just his third tournament with the team, Wheeler earned sixth place in extemporaneous speaking.
Micah Jordan finished in sixth place in communication analysis.
Clair was “next out” in after dinner speaking, finishing just one point short of reaching the finals in that event.
Swisher finished in fourth place in program of oral interpretation. She also finished first in informative speaking to earn the titles of “Top Novice” and state champion in that event.
Maggie Thomas earned second place in oratory. The MAFA state tournament is a qualifying event for the Interstate Oratorical competition, a competition that has been held for 150 continuous years. With first and second place finishes in this event, both Fischer and Thomas will represent SBU and the state of Missouri at this competition to be held April 25-26 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
The SBU Speaking Bearcats team will spend the next few weeks preparing for the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, which will take place March 19-23 in Indianapolis, Ind. For more information about the SBU forensics program, please contact Dr. David Bailey at dbailey@SBUniv.edu.