Speaking Bearcats claim fourth state title in five years

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.

speaking-cats-stateThe 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  

  • Top novice in informative speaking

Jeffrey Metzler – freshman

  • Semifinalist in parliamentary debate (partner Mariah Gilmore)

Mariah Gilmore – freshman

  • State champion in novice parliamentary debate speaker points
  • Semifinalist in parliamentary debate
  • Sixth place in prose interpretation
  • Sixth place in program of oral interpretation

Kensey Slone – junior

  • State champion in communication analysis
  • Third place in poetry interpretation
  • Third place in extemporaneous speaking
  • Third place in public forum debate speaker points
  • Fifth place in the pentathlon competition

Reece Tabor – junior

  • State champion in public forum debate (partner Tyler Middleton)
  • Second place in informative speaking
  • Second place in oratory
  • Qualified, for the second year in a row, to attend the Interstate Oratorical Association competition this spring at the University of Louisiana—Lafayette

Tyler Middleton – junior

  • State champion in public forum debate

Tiana Brownen – junior

  • First place in oratory
  • Qualified to attend IOA competition
  • Second place in impromptu
  • Third place in communication analysis
  • Fifth place in after-dinner speaking
  • Third place in the pentathlon competition
  • Second place in the “overall forensicator” competition, which measures the total points scored by a competitor during the whole competition in both speech and debate

Mikayla Throne – sophomore

  • Third place in duo interpretation (partner Skyler Sanzotera)
  • Third place in informative speaking
  • Fourth place in program of oral interpretation
  • Sixth place in dramatic interpretation

Skyler Sanzotera – sophomore

  • Third place in duo interpretation
  • Seventh place in impromptu speaking
  • Finalist in public forum debate (partner Marisa Mayo)

Marisa Mayo – sophomore

  • State champion in extemporaneous speaking
  • Second place in public forum debate
  • Fourth place in oratory
  • Sixth place in informative speaking

Sam Carr – sophomore

  • Fourth place in poetry interpretation
  • Sixth place in varsity parliamentary debate

Caleb Rutledge – sophomore

  • State champion in impromptu speaking
  • State champion in after-dinner speaking
  • Second place in dramatic interpretation
  • Third place in prose interpretation

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.