Speaking Bearcats win third-straight state championship

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Southwest Baptist University Speaking Bearcats won their third-consecutive Missouri Association of Forensics Activities (MAFA) State Championship on Feb. 22-23 in St. Louis, as well as having two students selected to represent Missouri for the Interstate Oratorical competition.

The Speaking Bearcats display their awards from the 2019 state championship.SBU had a strong showing, winning first place in the open division of overall sweepstakes and third in the open division of debate sweepstakes, while competing against teams from 16 colleges and universities.

“The MAFA state championship tournament is an open tournament,” said Dr. David Bailey, director of forensics at SBU, “which means that the field of competitors is not limited to Missouri schools alone, but teams and competitors throughout the region.”

Each year at MAFA, the original oratory competition takes place to determine Missouri’s two representatives for the Interstate Oratorical competition.

This year, SBU senior Marisa Mayo placed third and sophomore Evan Kirksey finished fourth. Since Mayo and Kirksey both were the highest-placing competitors from MAFA member schools in this event, they both earned the right to represent the state of Missouri at the Interstate Oratorical Competition on April 27-28 at West Chester University in West Chester, Penn.

For each of the past 11 years, SBU has had at least one of the two potential Interstate Oratory qualifiers from Missouri.

SBU seniors Mikayla Throne, Andrew DeShon and Marisa Mayo celebrate their debate state championship.Speaking Bearcats MAFA debate highlights included:

  • Marisa Mayo (senior) – semifinalist in public forum debate (with partner Andrew DeShon, senior); first in public forum debate speaker awards.
  • Andrew DeShon (senior) – semifinalist in public forum debate (with partner Marisa Mayo, senior).
  • Mariah Gilmore (junior) – quarterfinalist in parliamentary debate (with partner Breanna Prater, sophomore); second in parliamentary debate speaker awards.
  • Breanna Prater (sophomore) – quarterfinalist in parliamentary debate (with partner Mariah Gilmore, junior).
  • Mitchell Huston (freshman) – novice finalist in parliamentary debate (with partner Christina Foltz, sophomore)
  • Christina Foltz (sophomore) – novice finalist in parliamentary debate (with partner Mitchell Huston, freshman)
  • Katelyn Bloom (sophomore) – third place in public forum debate speaker awards.

The team also excelled in the speech events, taking three of the top six places in both communication analysis and duo interpretation, and four of the top six in impromptu speaking:

  • Breanna Prater (sophomore) – third in communication analysis; second in impromptu speaking; sixth place in extemporaneous speaking; sixth in after-dinner speaking.
  • Marisa Mayo (senior) – fifth place in communication analysis; fifth in impromptu speaking.
  • Andrew DeShon (senior) – sixth in communication analysis; sixth in impromptu speaking; third place in informative speaking; fifth in extemporaneous speaking.
  • Turner McCrackin (junior) – third place in duo interpretation (with partner Mitchell Huston, freshman).
  • Katelyn Bloom (sophomore) – fourth place in duo interpretation (with partner Mikayla Throne, senior); fourth in poetry.
  • Mikayla Throne (senior) – first in poetry (Missouri state champion); fourth place in duo interpretation (with partner Katelyn Bloom, sophomore); fourth in impromptu speaking; second in informative speaking (Missouri state champion as highest-finishing competitor from Missouri).
  • Mitchell Huston (freshman) – third place in duo interpretation (with partner Turner McCrackin, junior); fifth place in duo interpretation (with partner Mariah Gilmore, junior); third place and Top Novice in dramatic interpretation.
  • Mariah Gilmore (junior) – fifth place in duo interpretation (with partner Mitchell Huston, freshman).

Speaking Bearcats 2019 state championship plaque.Next up for the Speaking Bearcats is the culmination of their season – the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals on March 19-25 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. For more information about SBU Speech and Debate, please contact Bailey at (417) 328-1697 or dbailey@SBUniv.edu.

Photo 1: SBU’s Speaking Bearcats (front row, left to right): Mikayla Throne, Andrew DeShon and Marisa Mayo; (back row, left to right): Katelyn Bloom, Spencer VanSickle, Autumn Lyon, Mitchell Huston, Christina Foltz, Evan Kirksey, Turner McCrackin, Mariah Gilmore, Jessie Paxton, Breanna Prater and Abigail Andrews.

Photo 2: SBU seniors (left to right) Mikayla Throne, Andrew DeShon and Marisa Mayo display some of their many awards from the state championship tournament.

Photo 3: The 2019 State Championship Plaque.

*Published: 3-6-19