BY JOE BLASDEL, SPEECH AND DEBATE COACH
McKendree University finished in 5th place in overall program sweepstakes at Webster University’s Gorlok Gala and took home 21 individual awards. Fifty colleges and universities, including Boise State University, Washington University, and Ohio State University, attended the tournament on January 23-25. Representing McKendree were seniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, and Spencer Marcum; juniors Lauren Apetz and Quinn McRoberts; sophomore Katie Reining; and first-years Alex Baldwin, Austin Brown, Emeri Farnam, Beth Graham, Brett Hanna, David Junge, Adam Kaul, Jode Luster, Briar North, Ariel Rodriguez, Gage Simmons, and Hannah Zickefoose.
“The team really came through this weekend,” said Stephen Hagan. “In particular, our first-year students had excellent showings and really grew as performers.”
In individual events, Marcum advanced to elimination rounds in five events. He placed 4th
in prose and 5th in drama, while finishing as a semifinalist in poetry. In addition, the duo of Blake and Marcum won 1st place in duo, while Marcum and Reining took 2nd in improvisation. Blake also finished as a semifinalist in drama and in 5th place in improvisation with Fleming. Fleming won 3rd place in programmed oral interpretation and reached semifinals in prose. Zickefoose took 5th place and top novice in programmed oral interpretation, while receiving an excellent award in impromptu. North reached semifinals in impromptu as well as taking top novice and an excellent award in informative. Farnam reached semifinals in both prose and persuasion. Blake took 3rd place in individual sweepstakes, while McKendree took 4th place in individual event sweepstakes.
In open parliamentary debate, the team of Baldwin and Simmons posted a 4-1 record. After receiving a bye in the double-octofinal round, they lost to William Jewell College and finished in 9th place. In novice Lincoln-Douglas debate, Baldwin went 4-2. After defeating Hillsdale College in quarterfinals, he lost to Sterling College to finish as a semifinalist. Baldwin also took 4th speaker in the division.
Finally, McKendree qualified two more events for nationals. Fleming qualified for the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament in programmed oral interpretation, while Baldwin and Simmons qualified for the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.
McKendree will next compete at the Jackson Purchase Swing, hosted by Murray State University, on February 7-8.