McKendree Speech and Debate Opens Spring with Strong Performances


McKendree Speech and Debate Opens Spring with Strong Performances

BY JOSEPH BLASDEL, PhD

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Webster 2014: (left to right) Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, Tyler Jewell, Cassie Kuberski, Katie Reining, Spencer Marcum
Webster 2014: (left to right) Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, Tyler Jewell, Cassie Kuberski, Katie Reining, Spencer Marcum

The McKendree University speech and debate team began its spring semester of competition with strong performances at both University of Utah’s Mile High Swing and Webster University’s Gorlok Gala – reaching quarterfinals in debate at Mile High and advancing six events to finals at the Gorlok.

“It was a great start to the spring,” said Joe Blasdel. “I think it gives a lot of momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular season and nationals.”

Thirty-one colleges and universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Oregon, the University of California at Los Angeles, and Rice University, attended the University of Utah’s Mile High Swing on Jan. 18-20, the biggest regular season parliamentary debate tournament. Representing McKendree were seniors Brent Nicholson and Brad Thomas.

At the first half of the tournament, Nicholson and Thomas posted a 4-1 record. After receiving a bye in triple-octofinals, they defeated the University of Puget Sound in double-octofinals. They lost to the University of Oregon in octofinals. Thomas was recognized as the 20th best speaker (from a field of 192 debaters).

At the second half of the tournament, Nicholson and Thomas went 3-2. After beating the University of Texas in triple-octofinals, they bested the University of Oregon in double-octofinals, avenging their earlier loss. Then, they ousted regional rival William Jewell in octofinals. Nicholson and Thomas finished as quarterfinalists after losing to Lewis and Clark College.

Nicholson and Thomas are currently the 13th ranked team in the nation (from a field of 621 teams) and have accepted a first-round bid to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

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Forty-four colleges and universities, including Ohio State University, Purdue University, and Truman State University attended Webster University’s Gorlok Gala on Jan. 24-26. Representing McKendree were juniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, and Spencer Marcum; sophomores Tyler Jewell, Cassie Kuberski, and Rodney McBride; and first-years Mary Makarishcheva and Katie Reining.

Josh Fleming advanced to finals in four events – programmed oral interpretation, duo improvisation (with Rebecca Blake), duo improvisation (with Tyler Jewell), and duo interpretation (with Rebecca Blake). Fleming took 3rd place in programmed oral interpretation, qualifying him for the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament this April. Fleming and Blake took 2nd in duo interpretation as well as 3rd place in duo improvisation. Fleming and Jewell took 5th place in duo improvisation. Spencer Marcum took 1st place in programmed oral interpretation – his third win of the year and second consecutive win at the Gorlok. He also took 6th place in informative speaking. McKendree also received four excellent awards – Marcum in poetry, prose, and drama; Fleming in impromptu.

Currently, McKendree has two individual events competitors qualified for nationals – Spencer Marcum and Josh Fleming, both in programmed oral interpretation.

McKendree will next compete at Murray State University on Feb. 8-9.