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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

Members of the Speaking Bearcats forensics team show off their hardware after competing at the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities State Championship Feb. 14-15. More recently The duo of Emily Meyers and Nick Van Ross earned the national title in the Public Forum Debate category.

Members of the Speaking Bearcats forensics team show off their hardware after competing at the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities State Championship Feb. 14-15. More recently, the duo of Emily Meyers and Nick Van Ross earned the national title in the Public Forum Debate category.

Feb. 24, 2014

Forensics duo earns national title, team takes third at state contest

The Northwest Missouri State University Speaking Bearcats forensics team earned another national championship at the inaugural Public Communication Speech and Debate League National Tournament Feb. 22-23 at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

The duo of Emily Meyers, a freshman public relations major from Maryville, and Nick Van Ross, a freshman marketing major from Lee’s Summit, took the national title in the Public Forum Debate category. Meyers and Van Ross also placed second and third, respectively, in the Public Forum Speaker category. 

Additionally, Tristan Newell, a freshman English major from Liberty, placed fifth in Radio Broadcasting as Northwest finished third in the overall team sweepstakes category and second in debate team sweepstakes.

“Northwest traveled just three novice competitors in two events, but those students had an amazingly strong showing against much larger teams from Simpson, Ohio, Marietta and Ottawa,” Director of Forensics Brian Swafford said. “The team of Emily Meyers and Nick Van Ross won all preliminary rounds of Public Forum and were the top-seeded team going into the final round.”

Meyers and Vann Ross are the third and fourth Speaking Bearcats team members to earn national titles in the last three years. Gabbi Ray won a national title in Program of Oral Interpretation in 2013, and Carl Stafford won a title in the same category in 2011.

The Speaking Bearcats entered the national tournament on a third-place finish in the individual events sweepstakes and fourth place overall at the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities State Championship Feb. 14-15 at the University of Central Missouri.

“It is always a bit of a disappointment when you don’t win the state tournament, but this speaks more to the level of talent across the state,” Swafford said. “I am incredibly proud of the work my students have put in over the past two weeks in anticipation of this tournament.”  

Ray, a senior merchandising major from St. Louis, successfully defended her state title in Program of Oral Interpretation. Teammate TyQuan Baskin, a freshman speech and theater education major from Kansas City, earned third place.

Tony Pulford, a senior theater major from Independence, also had a successful tournament, earning third place in Dramatic Interpretation and Prose Interpretation as well as Dramatic Duo Interpretation with teammate Nataleigh Brull, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Overland Park, Kan.

Baskin, Meyers and Hugh Slaton, a freshman zoology major from DeSoto, Ga., were recognized as top novices at the state tournament.

The Speaking Bearcats began the spring trimester by competing at the Gorlok Gala at Webster University in St. Louis. Northwest finished eighth overall at the tournament, which is one of the largest invitational tournaments in the country.

Two tournaments remain in the Speaking Bearcats’ season. The team travels to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to compete in the Battle for the Capital tournament March 1-2 and then to the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament March 20-23 in Indianapolis, Ind.  


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