Forensic Union Members Post Strong October Record

In the busiest month of its competitive season, a young and growing Truman speech and debate team made its mark this October with honors at tournaments in Missouri, Nebraska and Ontario, while hosting the British National Team on campus and conducting nearly weekly public exhibition debates. In the midst of the frenzy, Truman competitors brought home 13 different honors.

At the invitation-only William Jewell College Round Robin, Sept. 30, to which only 15 parliamentary debate teams in the nation received bids, Truman reached the semifinals (third place) with the team of Meghana Kunkala, a senior biology major from Chino, Calif., and Dylan Rothermel, a sophomore chemistry major from Homewood, Ill. Of particular note was the duo’s victory over the University of Missouri’s team in the fifth preliminary round. Kunkala was ranked third best speaker in the tournament, while Rothermel ranked fifth.

In the subsequent open tournament hosted by William Jewell, Oct. 1-2, two Truman teams advanced to elimination rounds including, once again, Kunkala and Rothermel. They were joined by the team of Sara Archer, a sophomore pre-business administration and pre-accounting double major from Riverside, Mo., and Stefani Wittenauer, a junior communication and political science double major from Belleville, Ill.

At the Nebraska Double-Up (Oct. 14-16), co-hosted by Creighton University (Omaha, Neb.) and Concordia University (Seward, Neb.), the parliamentary debate team of Elizabeth Hobbs, a senior biology major from Newton, Kan., and Jason Mo, a freshman chemistry major from Chesterfield, Mo., was dominant, reaching the quarterfinals. Hobbs was ranked third speaker and Mo was ranked fifth speaker in a field of 100 speakers. Truman competitors at the Double-Up won additional honors in individual speaking events. Hobbs continued her successful streak in persuasive speaking, clinching a national tournament bid with a fourth place finish in the Creighton half of the tournament and a second place finish at the Concordia half. Hobbs also took fifth in rhetorical criticism at Concordia. During the Concordia portion of the tournament, Andrew Green, a freshman communication arts and philosophy/religion double major from Gladstone, Mo., captured second place in extemporaneous speaking, while his teammate Christopher Dove, a freshman biology major from Chesterfield, Mo., took sixth.

To cap-off a busy few weeks, Truman also made its first foray in decades into international competition, sending the teams of David “Ben” Holley, a senior political science and communication double major from Neosho, Mo., and Mariam Savabi, a sophomore health science major from Maryland Heights, Mo., and Kristen Moore, a freshman political science and philosophy/religion double major from St. Louis, and Casey Sharp, a freshman from St. Joseph, Mo., to Hart House at the University of Toronto to compete in British-style parliamentary debate. Holley and Savabi narrowly missed the brutal cut to semifinals, but posted impressive results against teams from such noted world-contenders as McGill University and Yale University.

The Truman Forensic Union is a co-curricular program of the Division of Language and Literature, open to all interested and dedicated Truman students, and is supported by a combination of University, alumni and student-raised funds. Individuals interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to contact Kevin Minch, director of forensics, at 785.5677 or for more information.
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