Forensics Claims State Title and Awards

Truman Forensics won the state title Feb. 20-21, for the first time since 2004.

Other awards included the Bob Derryberry Overall Award, given to the best team in the tournament. The debaters also won the Harold Lawson Overall Debate Award.

These awards are named after former, influential Missouri coaches. The speech competitors also took third place for overall individual events sweepstakes.

“This weekend’s victory highlighted how far we have come this season, not just as individual competitors, but as a team,” Debate Coach Kristopher Stroup said. “Winning debate sweepstakes was great preparation for nationals, but the real prize was the overall award, which highlighted the contributions of both sides of the program and is a terrific measure of team quality across the board.”

Truman also earned several individual state champion awards, including Christian Johns in Lincoln-Douglas speaking, Mel Kapitan in impromptu speaking, Samantha Jones in poetry interpretation and Kyle LaVelle in extemporaneous speaking.

Other awards included Andrew Grojean who took fourth in after dinner speaking, sixth in impromptu and second in pentathlon. Jessica Petrie took second in impromptu, second in extemporaneous and second in persuasion. Jones and Grojean also placed third in duo interpretation.

Top Novice Awards included Jones in poetry, LaVelle in extemporaneous and after dinner speaking and Petrie in impromptu, communication analysis and persuasion.

Additional debate awards include Susan Taylor who placed second, Elizabeth Hatting fifth and Sarah Backhaus sixth. Lincoln-Douglas speaking included quarterfinalist awards for Hatting, Johns, and Backhaus, while Taylor made it to the semi-finals. In parliamentary debate, Johns received a fourth place speaking award and Backhaus fifth. Other notables in this partner format included octofinalist awards for the team of Petrie/Taylor, and semifinals for Johns/Hatting. Backhaus and Dylan Clark won second overall.

Anyone interested in forensics should contact Kristi Scholten, director of forensics, at
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