Speech and Debate Team Collects 33 Awards

(LEBANON, Ill., November 5, 2015) - The McKendree University speech and debate team continues its winning ways, taking home 33 awards in three recent weekends, including a second place team finish at Illinois State University.

“The students on this team have continued to work hard and it’s paid off,” said Joe Blasdel, coach. “Additionally, our coaches have done an incredible job in cultivating and exhibiting this work ethic.”

Eighteen colleges and universities, including Truman State, the University of Nebraska, and Western Kentucky University attended the University of Central Missouri’s speech tournament Oct. 17-18. Representing McKendree were juniors Dylan Comer, Katie Reining and Taylor Rossi; sophomore Hannah Zickefoose; and first-years Aliyah Smith and Andrew Wagner.

At the first half, Reining finaled in two events, taking third place in after dinner speaking and fourth place in communication analysis. Additionally, Rossi won third place in informative speaking, while Zickefoose took third in individual sweepstakes. At the second half, Reining again advanced in communication analysis and after dinner speaking, finishing second and sixth, respectively. Zickefoose took third place in after dinner speaking and second in individual sweepstakes. Rossi finished fourth in communication analysis.

Thirteen colleges and universities, including Rice, the University of Missouri, and Purdue, attended McKendree University’s home tournament on Oct. 23-25. Representing McKendree were senior Rodney McBride; sophomores Alex Baldwin, Beth Graham, David Junge, Adam Kaul, Jazzmine Mitchell and Gage Simmons; and first-years Justin Fausz and Adeja Powell.

At the first half, Baldwin and Simmons posted a 3-2 record and finished as quarterfinalists, after defeating Rice in octofinals. Graham and Kaul went 4-1 in prelims and finished as octofinalists. At the second half, Baldwin and Simmons again went 3-2 and finished as octofinalists, after defeating Appalachian State in double octofinals. McBride and Powell also posted a 3-2 record and finished as octofinalists, after beating Rice in double octofinals. The teams of Graham-Kaul and Fausz-Junge closed out the junior division, defeating two Cedarville teams in semifinals. McBride was named tenth speaker at the tournament.

Nine colleges and universities, including Bradley, the University of Illinois, and Central Michigan attended Illinois State University’s speech tournament on October 31.

Representing McKendree were juniors Dylan Comer, Katie Reining, and Taylor Rossi; sophomore Hannah Zickefoose; and first-years Aliyah Smith, Andrew Wagner and Emma Webster.

Rossi won first place in informative speaking and fifth in communication analysis. Zickefoose finaled in two events, taking first in programmed oral interpretation and third in poetry interpretation. Reining finished second in communication analysis, fourth in poetry interpretation, and fourth in after dinner speaking. Comer made finals in four events – second place in programmed oral interpretation, fourth place in duo interpretation, fourth in prose interpretation and fifth in dramatic interpretation. Webster finished fourth in duo interpretation, as well as sixth in dramatic interpretation. Smith took fifth place in prose, while Wagner finished sixth in extemporaneous speaking. In individual sweepstakes, Comer took fourth place, while McKendree was recognized as the second place team at the tournament, defeating three schools that have won every team sweepstakes at AFA nationals for the past 13 years – Western Kentucky, Bradley, and Illinois State University.

McKendree will compete in debate at Wheaton College on Nov. 6-7. The team’s next speech tournament will be its home tournament on Nov. 14-15.


Photo of Speech Team Members

Competing at the University of Central Missouri speech tournament were Nik Fischer, Andrew Wagner, Katie Reining, Dylan Comer, Taylor Rossi, Aliyah Smith and Hannah Zickefoose.


Photo of Debate Team Members

Debaters Justin Fausz, Alex Baldwin, Gage Simmons, Jazzmine Mitchell, Beth Graham and Adeja Powell participated in the McKendree University home tournament.


Photo of the Competitors at the Illinois State University Tournament

Taylor Rossi, Dylan Comer, Katie Reining (front row) and Hannah Zickefoose, Aliyah Smith, Emma Webster and Andrew Wagner (back row) competed at the Illinois State University speech tournament.