Forensics Team Takes Home Championship

Members of the Truman Forensic Union captured the Missouri State Championship in Debate Feb. 17.

The Union left the Missouri Association of Forensic Activities (MAFA) State Championships at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., with two additional state titles and more than 20 individual awards.

This was the first time since 2003 that Truman won the Missouri Debate “Sweepstakes” Championship, one of three state sweepstakes titles.

Additionally, Truman was the runner-up to State Champion, Drury University, in the overall sweepstakes category, which combines scores in both debate and individual speaking events.

Truman debaters dominated the competition.

“In a sense, all four teams share the State Championship,” Kevin Minch, associate professor of communication and director of forensics, explained.

The only losses Truman teams encountered in the elimination rounds were to other Truman debate teams. In those cases, the teams did not debate, instead those with the higher seed advanced to the next round.

The team of Dylan Rothermel, a junior economics major from Homewood, Ill., and Mark Buchheit, a freshman history major from Carthage, Mo., closed out the final round of the Varsity Championship with fellow Truman debaters Trevor Alexander, a senior economics and English double major from Gladstone, Mo., and Stefani Wittenauer, a senior communication and political science double major from Bellevillle, Ill.

The other two debate teams in the elimination round consisted of Sara Archer, a senior accounting major from Riverside, Mo., and Keith Schnakenberg, a senior communication and political science double major from Buffalo, Mo., and Kevin Haynie, a sophomore political science major from Bridgeton, Mo., and Christopher Girouard, a junior communication and political science double major from Chesterfield, Mo.

Truman also represented five of the top six debate speakers honored at the competition.

In Novice Parliamentary Debate, the team of Courtney Wallace, a junior nursing major from Philadelphia, and Stephanie Howes, a freshman political science major from St. Louis, fell in the semi-finals to the eventual State Champions. Archer had the same fate in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate competition, but was ranked the top speaker in that category.

Truman was also a dominant force in the individual speaking events, comprising half the field in the final round of extemporaneous speaking.

Rothermel took home the State Championship in the event, while Archer took third and Matthew Macari, a freshman computer science and mathematics double major from Peoria, Ill., took fifth. Macari also placed fourth in rhetorical criticism and was the top novice speaker in both events.

Jessica Carr, a sophomore justice systems major from Park Hills, Mo., and Jamie Menown, a sophomore nursing major from Kansas City, Mo., took sixth in duo interpretation.

The team closes out the invitational tournament season at Williamette University. The team will compete in two national championship tournaments in March, the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals and the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships.

For information on Truman Forensics, contact Minch at 785.5677 or
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