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March 12, 2015
The Northwest Missouri State University Speaking Bearcats forensics team capped its 2014-2015 by claiming three more individual national titles March 4-8 at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Convention and Tournament at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
The Speaking Bearcats placed fifth in the Overall Team Sweepstakes, sixth in Debate Team Sweepstakes and seventh in Individual Events Sweepstakes. The team’s placement in the individual sweepstakes matches its result at last year’s national tournament, while the team's finishes overall and in debate are improvements from last year.
Additionally, Hugh Slaton, a sophomore chemistry major from De Soto, Ga., took first place in informative speaking. Tom Pinney, who is pursuing his master’s of education degree at Northwest, and Gabbi Ray, a graduate student pursuing her Master of Business Administration, also earned national championships in alumni showcases for public address and oral interpretation, respectively.
Northwest Director of Forensics and communication instructor Brian Swafford noted this year’s team was composed largely of first-time and second-year competitors.
“It would have been easy for them to let their youth and inexperience be an excuse for subpar performances," Swafford said. “This group competed to the best of their abilities and improved upon last year’s results. I can’t wait to see what is in store for these students in the coming years.”
The top finishes raised the Speaking Bearcats’ total to nine national championships during the last five years. Ray, who completed her bachelor’s degree in merchandising at Northwest last year, was a two-time state champion and one-time national champion in program of oral interpretation as an undergraduate student.
The wins also increase Northwest’s national championship total across academic and athletic programs to 18 since fall 2009, with Northwest cheerleading (3), football (2), radio broadcasting (2), agricultural sciences (1) and wrestling (1) teams also winning national titles.
Individual results for Northwest competitors at the Pi Kappa Delta tournament appear below. Competitors in the top 10 percent of an event earn “superior” awards, with the national champion being “top superior.” Students in the top 10 to 20 percent range of an event earn “excellent” ratings, and students finishing in the top 20 to 50 percent range earn “good” ratings.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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