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Speaking Bearcats are champions of Gorlok Gala

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats got off to a strong start to the second half of the 2019-2020 season by winning the 22nd Gorlok Gala Tournament on Jan. 24-26, hosted by Webster University in St. Louis.

The ‘Gorlok’ (named for the Webster University mascot) hosted teams from 38 colleges and universities, representing 17 states.

“The Gorlok is a very challenging tournament,” said Dr. David Bailey, director of forensics at SBU. “The long days and rigorous schedule make it a tough test for our debaters. I was proud of the work that our team put in to be able to have the success they did. I cannot recall another time when we have advanced 100 percent of our debate entry. This was a very promising start to the spring season.”

The Speaking Bearcats brought 6 debate teams—each of which advanced to elimination rounds.

• Public forum debate: Austin Brown and Mariah Barber (second place). Brown and Barber, who double-entered in public forum and junior parliamentary debate, also reached the quarterfinals of that event.

• Novice parliamentary debate: Samantha Baldus and Jeremiah White, in his first tournament appearance, advanced to the quarterfinals. Baldus placed fifth in speaker awards.

• Junior parliamentary debate: Evan Kirksey and Jessica Paxton (quarterfinalists); Kirksey placed fourth in speaker awards.

• Open parliamentary debate: Breanna Prater and Mitchell Huston (quarterfinalists); Spencer VanSickle and Kadie Thomas (semifinalists). Prater (12th); VanSickle (seventh); Thomas (fourth) in speaker awards.

The team posted some equally strong results in their speech events.

• Dramatic interpretation: Mitchell Huston (sixth); Jessica Paxton (excellent award - top 30 percent in the event)

• Extemporaneous speaking: Breanna Prater (Tournament Champion); Kadie Thomas (second); Spencer VanSickle (excellent award)

• Impromptu speaking: Kadie Thomas (second; top novice – best first-year competitor); Breanna Prater (third)

• Persuasive speaking: Evan Kirksey (second); Kadie Thomas (fifth; top novice); Breanna Prater (excellent award)

• Poetry interpretation: Mitchell Huston (second); Jessica Paxton (excellent award); Mariah Barber (top novice)

• After-dinner speaking: Evan Kirksey (Tournament Champion)

• Communication analysis: Spencer VanSickle (sixth)

• Duo interpretation: Mitchell Huston and Mariah Barber (sixth); Mitchell Huston and Jessica Paxton (fifth)

• Informative speaking: Evan Kirksey (third); Breanna Prater (excellent award)

• Prose interpretation: Mitchell Huston (second)

The Speaking Bearcats are preparing for the state and national tournaments. The Missouri Association of Forensics Activities (MAFA) State Championship tournament will be held Feb. 14-15 and hosted by Crowder College in Neosho. The PKD National Tournament will be March 28-30 at San Diego State University.

For more information about SBU Speech and Debate, please contact Dr. David Bailey, director of forensics, at

*Published: 2-10-2020