Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SBU Well-Represented by Speaking Bearcats in National-Caliber Competition

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

BOLIVAR, Mo. –Southwest Baptist University speech and debate team, along with 68 other teams from 29 states, competed at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament in Overland Park, Kan., March 16-18. This year’s national tournament was one of the largest tournaments in the organization’s history.
Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Director of Forensics Dr. David Bailey said the young Speaking Bearcats represented themselves very well in the national-caliber competition. The team placed eighth in overall sweepstakes and eighth in individual event sweepstakes.

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“It was certainly an impressive showing” said Dr. Bailey. “Our program has a particularly impressive legacy of excellence at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. At this year’s nationals we fielded probably the youngest squad we ever have, and they managed to do quite well for themselves. I am very proud of them,” he said of the team’s overall performance.

Dr. Bailey said the Speaking Bearcats had much to be proud of in terms of the individual performances that contributed to the strong team finish.

In junior parliamentary debate freshmen Shawna Barkley and Nik Fischer placed third. Fischer’s points earned a second place finish in overall speaker awards in junior parliamentary.

In novice public debate freshman Kaila Todd was an octofinalist (the top sixteen). Her impressive results earned her a second place finish in debate speaker awards.

Also in novice public debate freshman Catherine Lathrop (in just her fifth tournament as a Speaking Bearcat) contributed to the team’s success with several quality debate wins.

Aside from their many wins across various formats of debate, the team members racked up a number of very impressive results in individual speech events.

Sophomore Matt Adams received an “Excellent” award (top 30%) in impromptu speaking.

Freshman Jenna King was a quarterfinalist (the top 24 in the nation) in after dinner speaking.

Freshman Meg Burns turned in another impressive performance. She was a quarterfinalist in program of oral interpretation, a recipient of an “Excellent” award in dramatic interpretation, a finalist and sixth place finisher in forensics criticism, and earned third place in prose interpretation.

Shawna Barkley walked away with an “Excellent” award in impromptu speaking, and was a quarterfinalist in persuasion. Barkley’s strong results in these and other event categories contributed to her tenth place finish in pentathlon (top individual event speaker) standings.

Nik Fischer led the Speaking Bearcats with a slew of very impressive results. In fact he received a major award in each of his speech events—a truly outstanding accomplishment for a freshman speaker. Fischer earned “Excellent” awards in both impromptu and extemporaneous speaking. He was a quarterfinalist in informative speaking, a semifinalist (top twelve in the nation) in informative speaking, a finalist and fifth place speaker in communication analysis, and was also a finalist and fourth place speaker in after dinner speaking.

This tournament was the team’s final outing for the 2011-2012 season. Reflecting back upon the year that was had by the young team, Dr. Bailey offered a few final thoughts about the season, “Above all, this year was characterized by growth and change. At the start of the season we were not a team—we were simply a collection of talented, yet raw, freshmen recruits. Over the course of this season it has been a joy for me to see this group come together to work, practice, and win as a team. I am very proud of them for what they have done this year and I look forward to the wonderful things this team will accomplish in the years to come” he said. 

Shawna Barkley will travel to the Interstate Oratorical competition at Emerson University in Boston, Massachusetts, April 26-28. Dr. Bailey said “The Speaking Bearcats will take the summer off but will look forward to perpetuating the program’s more-than-forty year tradition of excellence.” 

PHOTO: The Speaking Bearcats relax at the end of the tournament. Second row left to right: Nik Fischer, Kaila Todd, Meg Burns, Jenna King, Catherine Lathrop. First row left to right: Assistant Director of Forensics Ms. Rebecca Koe, Director of Forensics Dr. David Bailey, Matt Adams, and Shawna Barkley.

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