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News Release

April 5, 2019

Speaking Bearcats, Nguyen earn top awards at national tournament


Five members of the Speaking Bearcats competed in the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial and returned with 15 awards including an individual national championship. Pictured clockwise from left are Baylynd Porter, Natalie Coté, Clarissa Lenger, Bryana Jones and Kevin Nguyen. (Submitted photo)

Five members of the Speaking Bearcats competed in the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial and returned with 15 awards including an individual national championship. Pictured clockwise from left are Baylynd Porter, Natalie Coté, Clarissa Lenger, Bryana Jones and Kevin Nguyen. (Submitted photo)

The Northwest Missouri State University forensics team, known as the Speaking Bearcats, traveled to the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial at Hofstra University March 20-24 in Hempstead, New York, and returned with 15 awards including an individual national championship.

Kevin Nguyen, a freshman criminology major from Kansas City, Missouri, earned a Top Superior award, claiming the national title in prose interpretation, and was a runner-up in poetry interpretation. He also received a Superior award, placing fourth in program of oral interpretation, and an Excellent award in informative speaking.

“I am proud because I have worked all year to clean, perfect and improve my pieces which allowed me to go to nationals in the first place,” Nguyen said. “In addition, that hard work and the amazing help I have gotten from my coaches and teammates and friends has really boosted my abilities in terms of speaking and competitively acting.

Additionally, the Speaking Bearcats were a runner-up in advocacy in action, a category that involved the team completing a video project calling for action by the national organization; the Northwest team focused on addressing sexual harassment within the forensics community.

In all, Northwest competition team at the tournament consisted of five students who participated in 20 entries. The Speaking Bearcats placed 12th in the team sweepstakes.

Other individual results for the Speaking Bearcats at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial are listed below. Competitors received Superior awards by ranking in the top 10 percent of the field in their event and Excellent awards by ranking in the next 20 percent.

  • Natalie Cote (junior emergency disaster management major from Lawrence, Kansas): Superior in informative speaking; Excellent in communication analysis and prose interpretation.
  • Clarissa Lenger (sophomore special education major from Liberty, Missouri): Excellent in prose interpretation.
  • Bryana Jones (sophomore international business major from Raytown, Missouri): Excellent in extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, informative speaking, and persuasive speaking.
  • Baylynd Porter (junior organizational communication major from Nixa, Missouri): Superior in persuasive speaking; Excellent in prose interpretation.

The Speaking Bearcats are now winners of 31 team and individual national titles since 2009. Brian Swafford, who joined the Northwest faculty in 2011 and serves as a senior instructor of communication, is the director of forensics.


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