Forensic Union Scores Big at National Championship

The Truman State University Forensic Union took the 45th National Tournament of Pi Kappa Delta by storm March 7-10, capturing an individual national championship and ranking among the top three overall programs nationally.

In total, Truman students captured 26 separate awards, going up against 55 other colleges and universities who attended the tournament at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

The team’s performance was topped by Stefani Wittenauer, a senior communication and political science double major from Belleville, Ill., who clinched the National Championship in broadcast journalism, a first for the Truman Forensic Union in the category.

Truman performed well in the overall sweepstakes categories as well. The University ranked third nationally in the combined category, looking at performance both in debate and individual speaking events, while ranking fourth in debate nationally and ranking ninth in individual speaking events.

Unlike other tournaments, this one rated programs in categories of “superior” and “excellent” in addition to ordinal rankings for the top students and teams.

In speaking events Dylan Rothermel, a junior economics major from Homewood, Ill., and Sara Archer, a senior accounting major from Riverside, Mo., lead the team in extemporaneous speaking with “superior” finishes, Rothermel placing fifth, Archer 10th.

Cara Hurst, a senior English pre-M.A.E. major from Ballwin, Mo., and Mike Ito, a freshman political science major from Kansas City, Mo., captured a “superior” rating in duo interpretation, ranking eighth.

Jamie Menown, a freshman nursing major from Kansas City, Mo., received an “excellent” rating in prose interpretation, while Rothermel and Alex Hayden, a junior communication and philosophy and religion double major from Jefferson City, Mo., received additional “excellent” ratings in broadcast journalism.

In debate events Wittenauer and Trevor Alexander, a senior economics and English double major from Gladstone, Mo., took home “superior” awards in parliamentary debate. Teams of Rothermel and Mark Buchheit, a freshman history major from Carthage, Mo., and Christopher Girouard, a communication and political science double major from Chesterfield, Mo., and Kevin Haynie, a sophomore political science major from Bridgeton, Mo., took home “excellent” awards. The teams of Girouard and Haynie and Alexander and Wittenauer were national quarterfinalists.

In Lincoln Douglas debate, Keith Schnakenberg, a senior communication and political science double major from Buffalo, Mo., was a national semifinalist, earning a “superior” award. Buchheit and Rothermel each posted quarterfinalist showings, earning “excellent” honors.

In individual public debate, Todd Turner, a sophomore communication major from Chesterfield, Mo., received an “excellent” award.

Students competing in Legislative Debate earned two additional awards. Archer received an award of “excellent” while Haynie was named “Best Legislator” by his house.

Pi Kappa Delta is America’s largest comprehensive forensic league and honor society.

Truman will finish its competitive season at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament, March 22-25, at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo.
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