More Speech and Debate National Champs!

McKendree students talked their way into two individual national championships in speech and debate in March.

Ben ReidBen Reid ’13 was the top speaker of 330 competitors at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Championship at Western Washington University. Ben, a junior political science major from Kansas City, Mo., was named the Al Johnson Top Speaker for his overall performance. He earned 177.5 speaker points of a possible 180—the second highest total in the tournament’s 19-year history. Ben attributed his success to “knowing your audience” and the tremendous amount of preparation that he and his teammates do.

McKendree debaters competed against 165 two-person teams from 56 institutions, including the Universities of Oregon, Texas, Notre Dame, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Lance AllenLance Allen ’13 excelled in extemporaneous speaking, his favorite event, at Pi Kappa Delta’s National Comprehensive Tournament in Overland Park, Ks. Pi Kappa Delta is the national speech and debate honor society.

With a final speech that focused on instability in Syria, the junior international relations major from Peoria prevailed over 125 other competitors from 69 colleges and universities including Oregon State, Purdue, Truman State, Texas A&M and Ohio.

“I am incredibly proud of their performance. All of the students work extremely hard to prepare for nationals and their success is well-earned,” said Joe Blasdel ’00, coach of the speech and debate team.