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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

The Speaking Bearcats concluded their 2016-2017 season March 21-25 at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament and Convention, hosted by Boise State University in Idaho.

The Speaking Bearcats concluded their 2016-2017 season March 21-25 at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament and Convention, hosted by Boise State University in Idaho. Pictured above with their awards are, left to right, Alicia Johnson, Ve’Shawn Dixon, Nick Van Ross and Emily Meyers. (Submitted photos)

March 29, 2017

Dixon is national champion, Meyers is All-American at forensics finale

Northwest Director of Forensics Brian Swafford stands with Speaking Bearcats member Emily Meyers, who was named a Pi Kappa Delta All-American at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament and Convention.

Northwest Director of Forensics Brian Swafford stands with Speaking Bearcats member Emily Meyers, who was named a Pi Kappa Delta All-American at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament and Convention.

The Northwest Missouri State University forensics team, known as the Speaking Bearcats, returned home with one individual national championship and an all-American honor after completing their 2016-2017 season March 21-25 at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament and Convention, hosted by Boise State University in Idaho.

Ve’Shawn Dixon, a senior political science major from Kansas City, Kansas, competed in Student Congress and finished as Top Superior, making him this year’s national champion in the event. He also was voted by his chamber as Top Legislator.

Additionally, Emily Meyers, a senior public relations major from Maryville, was named a Pi Kappa Delta All-American. The award is given to 10 student members of the organization based on citizenship, competition success and team commitment.

Northwest earned an Excellent rating in the Individual Events Team Sweepstakes.

“It was very impressive for the students that competed at Pi Kappa Delta this year to earn a team sweepstakes award considering we only brought four students in fewer than 20 entries,” Northwest Director of Forensics Brian Swafford said. “That just shows how talented this group of students really is to earn points in all of their events.”

The Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Convention awards competitors based on percentages, whereas the top 10 percent earn “Superior” awards, the next 20 percent earn “Excellent” ratings, and the next 30 percent are rated “Good.” Awards are presented to competitors ranking “Superior” or “Excellent,” and the “Top Superior” competitor in each event is declared the national champion.

The convention also capped another successful season for the Speaking Bearcats, which began with the Northwest team hosting a tournament last September. The Speaking Bearcats also hosted the Public Communication Speech and Debate League (PCSDL) National Tournament, where they earned team and individual sweepstakes titles March 11-12.

The Speaking Bearcats are now winners of 27 individual and team national titles since 2009.

“This was an outstanding year where upper-class students took on leadership roles and earned numerous awards while first-year students learned what being a Speaking Bearcat is all about,” Swafford said.

Swafford commended the team’s seniors – Dixon, Alicia Johnson, Rodney McDuffie, Meyers, Mersadie Moore and Nick Van Ross – for their leadership, but also said he is excited about the future of the debate and forensics team. The senior members account for 15 individual national titles, and they were part of three team championships since 2014.

“They have earned numerous national championships, national awards and regular season trophies,” Swafford said. “They pushed themselves to be better and challenged their teammates to try harder. My hope is that the returning and future Speaking Bearcats can live up to this group’s commitment, talent and leadership.”

A complete list of Northwest results at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Convention is provided below.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468