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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 14, 2017

Speaking Bearcats claim sweepstakes awards, individual championships

The Northwest Missouri State University forensics team, known as the Speaking Bearcats, added to its collection of national championships and claimed team and individual sweepstakes titles while hosting the Public Communication Speech and Debate League (PCSDL) National Tournament March 11-12.

Northwest won the Speech Division I Team Sweepstakes, the Debate Team Sweepstakes, and the Combined Team Sweepstakes, which is the combination of points earned in both speech events and debate events.

Nick Van Ross, a senior marketing major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Missouri, won the Individual Sweepstakes, and Emily Meyers, a senior public relations major from Maryville, finished third in the individual sweepstakes.

In addition to Van Ross’ sweepstakes title, the Speaking Bearcats claimed five other individual national championships. For the second consecutive year, Northwest closed out the final round in Public Forum Debate to claim co-national championships. The duos of Meyers and Van Ross and Ve’Shawn Dixon, a senior political science major from Kansas City, Kansas, and Sam Gaither, a junior economics major from Kansas City, Missouri, tied for first in the category.

Van Ross also claimed national championships in TED Talks and Public Forum Speaker.

Meyers and her Duo Improv Acting partner Mersadie Moore, a senior business management and marketing major from Kansas City, Missouri, also defended their national championship. Additionally, Moore won the first national championship in Pecha Kucha, a new speaking event involving 20 PowerPoint slides that change every 20 seconds.

Van Ross and Meyers are now three-time national champions in Public Forum Debate at the PCSDL National Tournament, and the Speaking Bearcats are now winners of 26 individual and team national titles since 2009.

Every member of the Speaking Bearcats who entered the tournament left with at least one award. The team earned a total of 26 awards.

“This is an outstanding result from all the hard work these students put in to their events,” Northwest Director of Forensics Brian Swafford said. “Since this is the last tournament for most of the team this season, it is fantastic to go out with so much success.”

Other schools competing at the tournament were Butler University, Missouri Western State University, Murray State University, Ohio University and Simpson College.

Swafford was named next year’s PCSDL tournament director for the PCSDL tournament and Northwest will repeat as tournament host in April 2018.


Northwest individual results

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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