Monday, February 6, 2012

Speaking Bearcats Successful at Back-to-Back Tournaments

Southwest Baptist University News Release
Contact: Sharina Smith, Office of Marketing & Communications
417-328-1803 /

BOLIVAR, Mo. – The Speaking Bearcats recently kicked off the spring portion of their season with great success in back-to-back tournament weekends.

Webster University Tournament (January 27-29)
The Speaking Bearcats took fourth place overall out of forty schools in attendance. In sweepstakes, SBU earned fourth place in individual events and fifth place in debate, competing against teams from New York, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, and Iowa.

The debate team of Meg Burns and Jenna King took home a semi-finalist award in novice parliamentary debate, and the team of Shawna Barkley and Nik Fischer received a quarter-finalist award in junior parliamentary debate. Burns earned second place in top novice debate speaker awards, and Fischer earned seventh in top junior debate speaker awards.

The pentathlon awards also were given to students who competed in at least five events; the awards are highly respected since speakers must not only earn high rankings but must also compete in a variety of events.  In individual events Barkley received third place in pentathlon, third place in communication analysis, third place in informative speaking, third place in persuasive speaking, and top novice in duo interpretation. Fischer earned second place and top novice in impromptu speaking, fourth place in communication analysis, and fifth place in informative speaking. Burns earned an excellent in after dinner speaking. 

Kansas Wesleyan University Border Wars tournament (February 3-5)
The Speaking Bearcats earned first place overall at part one of the Kansas Wesleyan University Border Wars tournament. The Bearcats won the overall sweepstakes award, which is a combination of team points earned in debate and individual events.

According to Becca Koe, SBU lecturer in communication arts, the Bearcats won against a competitive field of teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.

Koe said, “The Bearcats competed all day Friday and Saturday, and they managed to come out with top ranks and close out the competition completely in the finals of novice parliamentary debate. The team also took third in debate sweepstakes, and fourth in individual events sweepstakes.”

Burns said, “This weekend was very stressful, but in the end worth it. I’m so blessed to be a part of the SBU Forensics family.” New team member Catie Lathrop added, “Through forensics you become diverse, are able to think on your feet, and reveal the performer you never knew you were.”

Going undefeated in novice parliamentary debate and winning the championship title were team members Barkley and Fisher. Also, sharing the champion title were King and Burns. Debate partners Lathrop and Kaila Todd also shared the championship title in novice parliamentary debate. Barkley earned top novice debate speaker in parliamentary debate followed by Todd in second, Burns in third, and Fisher in fourth.

In individual events, Fisher earned first place in informative speaking, second place in both extemporaneous speaking and communication analysis, and third place in after dinner speaking. King earned third place in program of oral interpretation and sixth place in after dinner speaking. Burns earned fifth place in communication analysis. Matt Adams earned fifth place in extemporaneous speaking.

Competitors King and Barkley earned second and third place pentathlon awards, respectively. In addition, students who meet the requirements for pentathlon and compete in debate qualify for the endurance awards. Competitors Barkley and King earned second and third place, respectively.

In two weeks, the Speaking Bearcats will be traveling to Kirksville, Missouri, to compete at the Missouri Association of Forensics Activities (MAFA) State Tournament hosted by Truman State University.

PHOTO: From left to right: Jenna King, Kaila Todd, Matt Adams, Shawna Barkley, Meg Burns, Nik Fischer, and Catie Lathrop. All are freshmen except for Matt who is a sophomore.

Southwest Baptist University is a leader among private universities in truly integrating Christ-centered academic pursuits with comprehensive professional programs at an affordable price. At SBU, the faculty and staff create a caring, academic community to prepare students to be servant leaders in a global society. For more information, visit

SBU’s Office of Marketing and Communications is available to news media 24 hours a day at (417) 399-7918.