The 2020 Debate National Champions Get Ready for Fall Competition

(LEBANON, Ill., September 15, 2020) — The McKendree University speech and debate team finished its 2020 season with two national championships. Adeja Powell and Mitch Deleel won the team national championship, while McKendree as a squad finished in first place in tournament sweepstakes. Much of the team, including the coaching staff, has returned this fall, and the team also welcomes several new members.

“It will be difficult to top last year’s performance,” said Director Joe Blasdel. “However, we have a talented group of returning students and an impressive incoming class. They have been working very hard over the summer and I’m excited to see them compete this year.”

Returning are seniors Mitch Deleel and Rebecca Postula; juniors Scott Anderson, Kyle Garrett, and Kyle Smith; and sophomores Jamari Jackson, Maddie Kopp, and Noah Marlar. Joining the team this semester are Jacob Brehm, Naya Busbea, Amoriana Gladney, Emily Lease, Jayden Touchette, Madeline Trinity and Sincere Williams.

Returning as coaches are Speech Coach Stephen Hagan, the 2019 LE Norton Award winner and National Forensics Association Council member; Debate Coach Brent Nicholson, the 2020 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE) Coach of the Year and a National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Equity Committee member; Assistant Coach Lance Allen, who is an assistant coach at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Mo., and a coach and former extemporaneous speaking national champion; Assistant Coach Zach Schneider, the NPTE Secretary and former NPTE national champion; and Blasdel, the 2021 NPDA tournament director and former NPTE president. Powell, who graduated from McKendree in 2020, also joins the coaching staff after just winning the 2020 NPDA championship.

Due to the public health situation, the speech and debate team will compete exclusively at virtual tournaments this fall, beginning with the University of Minnesota’s tournament, Sept. 19-20.




Team 2020 Photo

Team photo:

Front row, Kaylee McKinzie, Sincere Williams, Rebecca Postula, Kyle Garrett and Maddie Kopp; back row, Jayden Touchette, Naya Busbea, Madeline Trinity, Noah Marlar, Kyle Smith and Jamari Jackson.


Coaches 2020

Coaches photo:

Front row, Director Joe Blasdel, Stephen Hagan and Lance Allen; back row, Adeja Powell, Brent Nicholson and Zach Schneider.


Champs 2020

Trophy photo:

Debate national champions Mitch Deleel and Adeja Powell with Brent Nicholson, coach.