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SBU Speaking Bearcats finish in top 3 at national tournament

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University’s Speaking Bearcats finished in the top 3 at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament and Convention, brought home a national championship in literary criticism and had two members named All-American at the event held March 22-25, 2017, at Boise State University, in Boise, Idaho.

SBU squared off against tough competition from 72 other colleges and universities across the nation, finishing with Superior Awards (top 10 percent) in all sweepstakes categories – overall, debate; and individual speech events. The team finished third in overall sweepstakes, sixth in debate and fourth in speech.

sbu.pkd.debate“This is the third time in the past six years that the team has finished in the top three,” said SBU’s Director of Forensics Dr. David Bailey. “Although we are pleased with this result for now, we will continue to work toward getting back to the top spot in overall sweepstakes – it is named after our own late Dr. Bob Derryberry, after all.

“That trophy belongs here at SBU, and we’re going to get it back one day soon. But, for now, we are celebrating the many wonderful achievements of our students.”

The Speaking Bearcats had a number of outstanding achievements including:

  • Junior Reece Tabor was crowned the National Champion in literary criticism – earning a Superior (top 10 percent) award. He also won a Superior award as a quarterfinalist in public debate, and earned Excellent (top 30 percent) awards in broadcast journalism, informative, persuasion and public forum debate.
  • Juniors Kensey Slone and Tiana Brownen were both named Pi Kappa Delta All-Americans.

“The All-American designation is an extremely prestigious honor,” Bailey said. “Every two years, Pi Kappa Delta honors only 10 students by naming them All-Americans. There is a lengthy nomination and application process, whereby, the recipients are selected based upon excellence in the classroom, community service and their competitive records in speech and debate competition. We are extremely proud of Kensey and Tiana for earning this recognition.”

Besides being named a PKD All-American, Slone claimed Superior awards in both extemporaneous speaking and broadcast journalism. She also won Excellent awards in impromptu and communication analysis.

In addition to her All-American recognition, Brownen won a number of other awards at the tournament, including a Superior in persuasive speaking. This designation meant that she was selected to perform in the showcase round for that event. She also won Excellent awards in broadcast journalism and communication analysis.

  • Sophomore Skyler Sanzotera earned a Superior award in informative speaking, as well as a Superior with partner Marisa Mayo in junior parliamentary debate. Additionally, he earned Excellent awards in impromptu speaking and public forum debate (with Mayo). Sanzotera and Mayo were also parliamentary debate quarterfinalists.
  • Sophomore Mikayla Throne brought home a Superior in informative, and Excellent awards in POI, parliamentary debate and public forum with her partner Caleb Rutledge. Throne and Rutledge also were quarterfinalists in parliamentary debate.
  • Freshmen Mariah Gilmore and Jeffrey Metzler were semifinalists in parliamentary debate. The two of them earned a Superior award in that event.
  • Junior Tyler Middleton won a Superior award in impromptu speaking and was selected to perform this event as part of PKD’s “showcase” – a prestigious honor unique to the national tournament. Middleton also won an Excellent award in literary criticism and in public forum debate with Tabor.
  • Sophomore Marisa Mayo won a Superior in junior parliamentary debate with Sanzotera. She also earned Excellent awards in extemp, communication analysis and public forum debate.
  • Sophomore Caleb Rutledge won a Superior in after-dinner speaking and was selected to present his speech in the showcase for that event. He brought home another Superior in literary criticism. He earned Excellent awards in impromptu and duo interpretation with his partner Jordan Martin. In debate, he and partner Mikayla Throne were quarterfinalists in parliamentary debate and public forum debate.
  • In only his third tournament, freshman Jordan Martin won Excellent awards in broadcast journalism, duo interpretation with Rutledge and literary criticism. He, too, was designated as a showcase performer in literary criticism.
  • Freshman Michael Jenks won an Excellent award in extemporaneous speaking.
  • Metzler was a semifinalist in parliamentary debate with Gilmore, winning a Superior award in that event. Metzler also claimed Excellent awards in prose, literary criticism, and after-dinner speaking.

Cutline: Front row (left to right): Jordan Compton (assistant director), Rebecca Godsey (volunteer assistant coach), Tiana Brownen and Dr. David Bailey (director); second row (left to right): Kensey Slone, Meg Burns (volunteer assistant coach); third row (left to right): Mikayla Throne, Caleb Rutledge, Skyler Sanzotera, Mariah Gilmore and Marisa Mayo; fourth row (left to right): Michael Jenks, Jordan Martin, Reece Tabor, Jeffrey Metzler; back row (left to right): Yani McHugh, Sam Carr and Tyler Middleton.