McKendree Speech Team Takes First Place, Dominates at Owensboro

(LEBANON, Ill., November 25, 2014) — The McKendree University speech and debate team competed at three tournaments over the last two weeks, winning 28 awards and culminating in a first place team finish at Owensboro Community College.

“It was a great way to close out the semester,” said Joe Blasdel, coach. “We’ve improved throughout the semester and there is every reason to think this group of students and coaches will be able to build on this success in the spring and at nationals.”

First-year students Alex Baldwin and Gage Simmons competed at Wheaton College’s Hollatz Debates in Wheaton, Ill., on Nov. 7-8. They compiled a 4-2 record, defeating a Loyola team in octofinals before losing to another Loyola team to finish as quarterfinalists.

Representing McKendree at Owensboro Community College in Owensboro, Ky., on Nov. 15 were seniors Rebecca Blake and Josh Fleming; sophomores Katie Reining and Taylor Rossi; and first-years Emeri Farnam, Briar North and Hannah Zickefoose. Farnam took first place in both prose and persuasion. Fleming won first place in drama (qualifying the event for nationals), second in programmed oral interpretation, fifth in prose and sixth in impromptu counseling. Blake finished second in drama and fifth in after dinner speaking. Reining took second in informative speaking to qualify for nationals, third in persuasion and sixth in radio broadcasting. Rossi got third place in poetry and sixth in impromptu. Zickefoose took third in programmed oral interpretation fourth in impromptu counseling and fourth in after dinner speaking. North won third place in radio, in drama and in informative speaking, and fifth in impromptu counseling. The duos of Blake-Fleming and Farnam-Zickefoose took first and second place, respectively. Fleming took first in individual sweepstakes, while North and Zickefoose were third and fifth, respectively. McKendree University won overall team sweepstakes.

Representing the McKendree debate team at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., on Nov. 15-16 were juniors Rodney McBride and Quinn McRoberts; sophomore Mary Makarishcheva; and first-years Beth Graham, David Junge and Adam Kaul. Kaul and McRoberts compiled a 4-2 record in prelims, finishing as octofinalists.

McKendree now has one debate team qualified for the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence and is very close to qualifying another. Additionally, McKendree has eight individual events qualified for the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament – the most in program history – and is close on four others.

The team will close out its fall competition at Webster University’s Study Break tournament on Dec. 6.


Speech & Debate Team

McKendree University speech team members Katie Reining, Hannah Zickefoose, Emeri

Farnam, front row; Briar North, Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming and Taylor Rossi, back.