McKendree Speech and Debate Takes Home 15 Awards at Nationals

Lebanon, Ill. — The McKendree University speech and debate team took home 15 awards from three recent national tournaments: the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament (NPDA), and the National Comprehensive Tournament (NCT).

“The team has had an impressive nationals performance so far,” said Joe Blasdel, coach. “In particular, three seniors – Sarah DeBruyckere, Brent Nicholson, and Brad Thomas – ended their stellar careers at the top of their game.”

Twenty-nine colleges and universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Oregon and Texas Tech University, attended the NPTE, hosted by Northern Arizona University on March 15-18. Seniors Nicholson and Thomas, representing McKendree, went 7-5 in prelims and won their first three elimination rounds, defeating the University of Nevada, Texas Tech and the University of Colorado. They finished in 10th place at the tournament.

Fifty-two colleges and universities, including Rice, Pepperdine and the University of Missouri participated in the NPDA, also at Northern Arizona University on March 20-23. Representing McKendree were DeBruyckere, Nicholson and Thomas.

Nicholson and Thomas posted a perfect 8-0 record in prelims – the first time a McKendree team has gone undefeated at NPDA. After receiving a bye in triple-octofinals, they lost in double-octofinals to finish in 17th place. DeBruyckere and Phillip Kraft, her hybrid partner from Loyola University, finished with a 5-3 prelim record. In elimination rounds, they beat Carleton College, Concordia University, and William Jewell College. They finished as quarterfinalists (5th place) – the second best finish in school history. Nicholson was recognized as the 13th best speaker at the tournament , from a field of more than 300 debaters. DeBruyckere was also selected to the All-American team, becoming just the third McKendree debater to receive this honor. Finally, despite only fielding two teams, McKendree took 20th place in team sweepstakes.

The NCT, hosted by Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis, was attended by 80 colleges and universities, including the University of Kentucky, the University of Washington and Colorado College. Representing McKendree were senior Amanda Walker; juniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, Spencer Marcum and Caleb Vines; sophomore Cassie Kuberski; and first-years Mary Makarishcheva and Katie Reining.

Blake and Fleming advanced in two events: duo improvisation and duo interpretation. They took third place in duo improvisation and finished as semifinalists in duo interpretation. Fleming advanced in three other events as well: after dinner speaking, prose and programmed oral interpretation. Marcum advanced in four events: poetry, prose, programmed oral interpretation and informative speaking. Fleming placed seventh in individual sweepstakes.

McKendree speech and debate will conclude its season at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament on April 4-7.


Photo of Senior Debate Team Members

McKendree University senior debaters Sarah DeBruyckere, Brent Nicholson and Brad Thomas had an impressive performance at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament.


Photo of Speech Team Members

Competing at the National Comprehensive Tournament were McKendree University speech team members Rebecca Blake and Katie Reining (kneeling); and Caleb Vines, Amanda Walker, Mary Makarishcheva, Josh Fleming, Spencer Marcum and Cassie Kuberski.