McKendree Speech and Debate Team Opens Spring Season with 20 Awards, Including Six First-Place Finishes

(LEBANON, Ill., February 23, 2023) – The McKendree University speech and debate team recently finished its regular season with an additional 20 awards and six first-place finishes over two tournaments, qualifying three more events for nationals: sophomore Emma McIlhargie of Birch Run, Mich., in Lincoln-Douglas debate, senior Jayden Touchette of Millstadt, Ill., in extemporaneous speaking and junior Madeline Trinity of Millstadt, Ill., in impromptu speaking.

At Webster University’s Gorlok Gala, held from January 27-29, Touchette won first in impromptu speaking while also taking third in program interpretation and the Excellent category in drama. McIlhargie was named the top speaker in novice Lincoln-Douglas debate while also taking second place in the finals. Sophomore Aaron Brown of Albion, Ill., was the second speaker in junior Lincoln-Douglas debate.

At the Missouri State Tournament hosted by Missouri Valley College from February 10-12, Touchette won first place in open public debate while also winning top speaker. She was the tournament champion in extemporaneous speaking while taking second in program interpretation and third in impromptu speaking. First-year Gracie Vincent of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., finished as a semifinalist in novice public debate while taking second speaker. Brown was a quarterfinalist in open Lincoln-Douglas debate as well as fifth speaker in parliament debate. McIlhargie took third speaker in novice Lincoln-Douglas debate. As a squad, McKendree took third place in open speech sweepstakes and first place in limited entry speech sweepstakes.

McKendree will begin its national tournament season in March with the National Comprehensive Tournament, hosted by West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., followed by the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament, hosted by the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Competition will conclude with the National Forensic Association Championship Tournament in April, hosted by Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.