McKendree Speech and Debate Ends Regular Season with 30 Awards

Preparing for Nationals Next Month

(LEBANON, Ill., February 18, 2015) — The McKendree University speech and debate team ended its regular season in fine fashion by taking home 30 awards, including four first place finishes, at three tournaments over the last two weekends.

“This team is ready for nationals,” said Joe Blasdel, coach. “The quality and amount of work put in by our students and coaches is impressive and I cannot wait to see how we compete at nationals next month.”

Thirteen colleges and universities, including the University of Alabama, Western Kentucky and Belmont, attended the Jackson Purchase Swing at Murray State University on Feb. 7-8. Representing McKendree were senior Josh Fleming and first-years Emeri Farnam, Briar North and Hannah Zickefoose. At the first half, North won fourth place in informative speaking and sixth in editorial impromptu. Farnam finished fifth in persuasion, while Fleming took sixth in programmed oral interpretation. The duo of Farnam and Zickefoose won third place. McKendree took fourth place in small entry sweepstakes.

At the second half, Zickefoose won first place in after dinner speaking and sixth place in programmed oral interpretation. North finished first in editorial impromptu and sixth in radio. Farnam took seventh place in persuasion, while the duo of Farnam and Zickefoose were sixth.

McKendree was among 13 colleges and universities, including Purdue University, Texas Tech and Southern Illinois University, competing at the Warm-up at Loyola University on Feb. 13-15. Participating were sophomores Mary Makarishcheva and Rodney McBride and first-years Alex Baldwin and Gage Simmons. The team of Makarishcheva and McBride posted a 6-2 record in prelims. After defeating Loyola University in octofinals, they lost to William Jewell College in quarterfinals, finishing fifth. Baldwin and Simmons went 5-3, losing to Wheaton College in octofinals to finish ninth. Simmons was recognized as the 14th place speaker.

Fifteen colleges and universities, including Truman State, the University of Missouri, and Western Kentucky attended the Missouri State Tournament at Crowder College on Feb. 14. Representing McKendree were seniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, and Spencer Marcum, sophomore Katie Reining, and first-year Hannah Zickefoose. Zickefoose won first place and top novice in programmed oral interpretation, as well as top novice in after dinner speaking. Marcum finished third in both programmed oral interpretation and poetry, as well as fifth in both prose and drama. Blake took fourth in drama and sixth in after dinner speaking. Reining finished sixth in communication analysis, while Fleming took sixth in programmed oral interpretation. The duo of Blake and Marcum won first place (taking straight 1’s in finals), while the duo of Blake and Fleming took sixth place. Marcum also finished second in individual sweepstakes. McKendree University was fourth in individual events sweepstakes.

McKendree will compete at national tournaments next month. Two McKendree debate teams have qualified for the prestigious National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence – the sophomore team of Mary Makarishcheva and Rodney McBride, as well as first-year team of Alex Baldwin and Gage Simmons. Four McKendree individual events competitors have qualified for the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament: Spencer Marcum (duo, prose, poetry, drama, and programmed oral interpretation), Josh Fleming (drama and programmed oral interpretation), Rebecca Blake (duo) and Katie Reining (communication analysis and informative speaking).


Debate and Speech Team

Front row, Darren Meeker and Lance Allen;
center, Hannah Zickefoose, Rebecca Blake and Katie Reining;
back, Josh Fleming and Spencer Marcum.