BOLIVAR, Mo. — For the fourth time in five years, the Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats are state champions after capturing the Overall Sweepstakes in the open division of the Missouri Association of Forensics Activities Championship held Feb. 17-18 at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
The Speaking Bearcats had an impressive outing claiming first place in Overall and Individual events sweepstakes, while finishing third in Debate sweepstakes. Last year, the team just missed winning the Overall Sweepstakes award, which bears the name of long-time former SBU forensics coach, the late Dr. Bob R. Derryberry.
“It was incredibly rewarding on Saturday night to hear the announcement at the awards ceremony, ‘And so the trophy heads back home to Southwest Baptist University…,’ ” said SBU’s current Director of Forensics Dr. David Bailey.
The tournament, which is also open to other schools from across the nation that might wish to come and compete, consisted of representatives from 12 universities across the region.
CUTLINE: Back row left to right; Sam Carr, Mikayla Throne, Jordan Martin, Yani McHugh, Michael Jenks, Mariah Gilmore, Jeffrey Metzler, Caleb Rutledge, Tiana Brownen. Front row left to right; Reece Tabor, Tyler Middleton, Skyler Sanzotera, Marisa Mayo, Kensey Slone
The Speaking Bearcats brought home several awards, including:
Michael Jenks – freshman
Jeffrey Metzler – freshman
Mariah Gilmore – freshman
Kensey Slone – junior
Reece Tabor – junior
Tyler Middleton – junior
Tiana Brownen – junior
Mikayla Throne – sophomore
Skyler Sanzotera – sophomore
Marisa Mayo – sophomore
Sam Carr – sophomore
Caleb Rutledge – sophomore
Rutledge’s achievements contributed to an impressive overall score and the designation as the first-place finisher and state champion in the “overall forensicator” competition, meaning that he scored more combined points than any other competitor at the tournament.
“I think what I am proudest of,” Dr. Bailey said, “is the fact that the team won the Quality Award, which means that they were the most efficient of the many good teams present at the tournament. They had the most points overall, and we were the most efficient.
“It was a wonderful accomplishment, and I am very proud of this group of Speaking Bearcats for all the hard work it took to earn this championship.”
The Speaking Bearcats have only one team competition remaining this season. They will compete for the Pi Kappa Delta National Championship in Boise, Idaho on March 21-25.