Truman Debaters Maintain Tradition of National Success, Rothermel Takes All-American Award

Six members of the Truman Forensic Union brought home several awards from the 2008 National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Championship Tournament, held March 27-30, at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Two hundred and thirty-four two-person debate teams, representing 83 different colleges and universities attended this year’s championship.

Dylan Rothermel, a senior economics major from Homewood, Ill., was one of four students nationally to receive NPDA’s Academic All-American Award. This award honors students with especially high grades, debate success, and community service. This is the second year in a row that Truman students have earned the coveted honor.

In addition, two individual teams reached elimination rounds of the tournament. Rothermel and Mark Buchheit, a sophomore history major from Carthage, Mo., had a 6-2 preliminary round record earning them a bye through the first elimination round. They defeated the University of the Pacific in the triple-octafinal round before ending their march in the double-octafinals, or top 32, of the 234-team field. Sara Archer, a senior accounting major from Riverside, Mo., and Chris Girouard, a junior political science and communication double major from Chesterfield, Mo., earned a 5-3 preliminary record and defeated a team from Vanguard University in the quad-octafinals, before ending in the triple-octafinals, or round of 64. This is Buchheit’s first national elimination round appearance, Rothermel and Girouard’s second, and Archer’s third, respectively.

Truman ranked 17th overall in the tournament, outranking all other participating Missouri colleges and universities, as well as the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Washington, and the University of California-Berkeley, who rounded-out the top 20.

This concludes the team’s 2007-2008 competitive season.

This is the 10th-straight year that Truman has placed teams in the elimination rounds of the national championships. In only one year since 1999 has the team failed to place at least two teams at that level of the tournament. More than 30 Truman teams have accomplished this since Truman joined NPDA.

“This is an impressive accomplishment considering we only brought six students to nationals this year,” said Kevin Minch, director of forensics. “We normally bring anywhere from four to eight teams to nationals. These students accomplished a lot with much smaller numbers. They have worked very hard, and make me incredibly proud.” Minch, who also serves as president of NPDA, and, therefore, is not allowed to coach during the tournament, added: “I am also incredibly thankful for the leadership of assistant coaches Prof. Kristopher Stroup and Dr. Leslie Hahner, as well as alumni Tyson Helder and Jacob Stutzman, who coached the team so superbly during the contest--and throughout the season.”

Truman Forensics is a co-curricular program of the Department of Communication and is supported through a combination of University funds and alumni contributions. For more information on Truman Forensics log on to or call 785.5677.
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