McKendree’s Lance Allen Talks Himself into a National Championship

Lance Allen AwardLebanon, Ill. — McKendree University junior Lance Allen took home the national championship in extemporaneous speaking at the seventh biennial National Comprehensive Tournament sponsored by Pi Kappa Delta, March 16 to 18 in Overland Park, Ks. Pi Kappa Delta is the national speech and debate honor society.

Students from 69 colleges and universities participated, including Oregon State, Purdue, Truman State, Texas A&M and Ohio University. Allen prevailed in an immense field of 126 competitors in extemporaneous speaking, his favorite event.

“I got close to being eliminated twice and I just gave my best speech when it mattered,” said the international relations major from Peoria. “One of my teammates told me, ‘Some days you’re the bug, other days you’re the windshield. This weekend, you were the windshield.’”

He won two of his preliminary rounds and took third in another. He also won his quarterfinal round, answering a question on the Republican Party’s delegate selection process. In semifinals, he spoke on Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission to advance to finals. Allen won the final with a speech on the topic on Syrian instability.

Also representing McKendree at the tournament were seniors Sarah Brown and Chris Polanc; and sophomores Trent Boyer, Eddie Cox, Josh Fleming, Miriah McCaffrey, Amanda Walker and Caitlyn Westfall.

In debate, the team of McCaffrey and Walker had a 4-2 prelim record and advanced to elimination rounds before losing in quarterfinals on a split decision. The team of Brown and Polanc finished with an even record, as did Boyer in individual debate.

McKendree students are currently competing at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence and the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.


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