McKendree Speech and Debate Team Takes Third at Nationals

First-Year Debaters Gain Experience for the Future at NPDA and NPTE

(LEBANON, Ill., May 5, 2015) - The McKendree University speech and debate team turned in excellent performances at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Championship Tournament, the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), and the American Forensic Association (AFA) National Individual Events Tournament last month.

Forty-nine colleges and universities, including the University of California, Rice, and the University of Oregon attended NPDA, which was hosted by Kansas City Kansas Community College on March 14-17. Representing McKendree were juniors Rodney McBride and Quinn McRoberts; sophomore Mary Makarishcheva; and first-years Alex Baldwin, Beth Graham, David Junge, Adam Kaul and Gage Simmons.

The teams of Makarishcheva-McBride and Graham-Junge both finished with even records, just missing the break to elimination rounds. Graham-Junge was recognized as the third place novice team. Kaul won the fourth place speaker award in the novice category.

Thirty-seven colleges and universities, including the University of California, the University of Texas, and Loyola University, attended the NPTE, hosted by William Jewell College on March 19-22. Representing McKendree were McBride, Makarishcheva, Baldwin and Simmons. The team of Makarishcheva-McBride went 6-6, just missing the break to elims. Simply qualifying for the NPTE is difficult, explained Coach Joe Blasdel, as teams must advance to elim debates at four tournaments and win at least three elimination debates during the regular season.

“For all eight members of the debate team - five of them first-year students - this was their first national tournament,” Blasdel said. “I’m incredibly proud of their performance and very excited for this team over the next few years.”

Eighty-six colleges and universities, including the Universities of Florida, Oklahoma and Oregon, attended AFA, hosted by Lewis and Clark College, on April 3-6. Representing McKendree were seniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, and Spencer Marcum, as well as sophomore Katie Reining. Qualifying for AFA is also very difficult; students must advance at three tournaments and finish in the top three at each. Blake and Marcum qualified in duo, while Marcum also qualified in programmed oral interpretation, prose, poetry and drama. Fleming qualified in drama and programmed oral interpretation. Reining qualified in communication analysis and informative speaking.

“I am proud of these students, as this is a tournament that even being at is an honor,” said Dr. Stephen Hagan, coach. “Beyond that honor, our results were in the top half of the tournament.”


Photo of Debate Team

NPDA 2015, left to right: Adam Kaul, Alex Baldwin, Gage Simmons, Quinn McRoberts,
Rodney McBride, David Junge, Beth Graham (not pictured: Mary Makarishcheva).


Photo of Speech Team

AFA 2015, left to right: Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, Katie Reining, Spencer Marcum.