McKendree’s Ben Reid is Top Speaker at NPDA Championship Tournament

Photo of Ben ReidTwo National Champions in Two Weekends!

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University walked away with its second national championship in as many weekends when Ben Reid was named the top speaker of 330 competitors at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Championship. The tournament was hosted by Western Washington University on Mar. 21-24.

Reid, a junior political science major from Kansas City, Mo., was named the Al Johnson Top Speaker for his overall performance. He took 177.5 speaker points of a possible 180—the second highest total in the tournament’s 19-year history. Reid attributed his success to “knowing your audience” and the amount of preparation that he and his teammates do.

Fifty-six colleges and universities (with 165 two-person teams) attended the tournament, including the University of Oregon, University of Texas, Notre Dame University, and the United States Air Force Academy. McKendree took sixth place in tournament sweepstakes, beating the aforementioned schools.

“I am incredibly proud of our performance the past two weekends,” said Joe Blasdel, debate coach. “All of the students work incredibly hard to prepare for nationals and their success is well-earned.”

Also representing McKendree were seniors Anna Chambers and Zak Kilhoffer; juniors Mat Myles, Reid and Ian Reynolds; and sophomores Lucas Barker, Alex Cunningham, Sarah DeBruyckere, Brent Nicholson and Brad Thomas.

The team of Nicholson and Reid posted a 7-1 record, advancing to elimination rounds. In the round of 32, they defeated Willamette University. They lost to Whitman College in the round of 16, to finish in ninth place at the tournament. Reynolds and Thomas went 6-2 in prelims. In the round of 64, they defeated the University of Oregon. They took 17th place after losing to Texas Tech in the round of 32. Barker and Myles posted a 5-3 prelim record, defeating California State University at Long Beach in the round of 64, before losing to Washburn University to also finish 17th. The teams of Cunningham and Kilhoffer, as well as Chambers and DeBruyckere, finished with even records, just missing the break to elimination rounds.

Additionally, McKendree debaters attended the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), also hosted by Western Washington University on Mar. 16-19. McKendree had four teams at the NPTE, as one of only six schools to qualify four or more. Two teams advanced to elimination rounds: Nicholson and Reid in 25th place, Reynolds and Thomas in 27th place. Reid was named eighth best speaker at NPTE.

On the same weekend, McKendree junior Lance Allen won the national championship in extemporaneous speaking at the National Comprehensive Tournament sponsored by Pi Kappa Delta speech and debate honor society, in Overland Park, Ks.