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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

June 7, 2019

Speaking Bearcats finish season with nine more national titles

The Speaking Bearcats earned 21 awards, including nine national titles, at the Public Communication Speech and Debate League National Tournament. Left to right in the first row are Gillian Stanley, Hailey Vernon, Baylynd Porter and Rhiannon Hopkins. Pictured in back are Jesse Reed, Dylan Fuchs, Joshua Williams and Gavin Hopkins. (Submitted photo)

The Speaking Bearcats earned 21 awards, including nine national titles, at the Public Communication Speech and Debate League National Tournament. Left to right in the first row are Gillian Stanley, Hailey Vernon, Baylynd Porter and Rhiannon Hopkins. Pictured in back are Jesse Reed, Dylan Fuchs, Joshua Williams and Gavin Hopkins. (Submitted photo)

The Northwest Missouri State University forensics team, known as the Speaking Bearcats, completed its season by claiming nine national championship titles, including two team awards, during the Public Communication Speech and Debate League (PCSDL) National Tournament April 6-7 at Butler University in Indianapolis.

The Speaking Bearcats brought home team championships in Debate Sweepstakes and Combined Sweepstakes for all speech and debate events as well as a second place award in Speech Division I Sweepstakes.

Of the Speaking Bearcats, seven individual national titles, Jesse Reed, a freshman cybersecurity major from Topeka, Kansas, accounted for three, winning the contests in Humorous Political Commentary and Pecha Kucha, a speaking event involving 20 PowerPoint slides that change every 20 seconds. Reed also earned the top prize in College Public Forum Debate with his partner Baylynd Porter, a junior communication major from Nixa, Missouri; they tied for the title with teammates Gavin Hopkins, a senior speech and theatre education major from Jamesport, Missouri, and Rhiannon Hopkins, a sophomore speech and theatre education major from St. Joseph, Missouri.

In addition to her co-national title in College Public Forum Debate Rhiannon Hopkins was the top finisher in the College Public Forum Speaker Awards, a contest that had Porter placing second and Reed placing third.

In all, the team earned 21 awards at the tournament.

With Kevin Nguyen’s Top Superior award at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial in March, the Speaking Bearcats earned 10 national titles during their 2018-19 season. The Speaking Bearcats are winners of 42 team and individual national titles since 2011.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Speaking Bearcats,” Northwest Director of Forensics Brian Swafford said. “This team has demonstrated that they can excel in all kinds of speaking events. These national awards speak to their hard work over the course of the season. Since most of the team is first and second-year competitors, the future looks especially bright.”

Individual results for the Speaking Bearcats at the PCSDL tournament are listed below.

Individual Sweepstakes

Audition Monologue

College Public Forum Debate

College Public Forum Speaker Awards

Great Speeches

Humorous Political Commentary

Pecha Kucha

Public Narrative

Radio News Broadcasting

Research Paper

Sports Communication

Table Topics


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