Truman Forensic Union Dominates Central States Tournament

Twelve representatives of the Truman Forensic Union swept most of the top honors in debate and several championship awards in individual events at the Central States Tournament, co-hosted by MCC-Longview (formerly Longview Community College) and Truman, on the Longview campus in Lee’s Summit, Mo., Oct. 28-30. Truman captured the individual team championship in parliamentary debate, as well as both the tournament’s debate sweepstakes and combined debate and individual events sweepstakes championships. This performance placed Truman ahead of several regional players, including William Jewell College, Drury University and Washburn University, as well as schools attending from as far away as Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas.

In parliamentary debate Truman cleared 100 percent of its squad, placing a rare six teams in elimination rounds. In the open (or “varsity”) division, the team of Stefani Wittenauer, a junior communication and political science double major from Belleville, Ill. and Sara Archer, a junior pre-business administration and pre-accounting double major from Riverside, Mo., won first place, defeating a team from William Jewell College that is currently ranked third nationally. Close behind them was the team of Elizabeth Hobbs, a senior biology major from Newton, Kan., and Jason Mo, a freshman chemistry major from Chesterfield, Mo., who reached the semifinal round. Additional open division teams reaching elimination rounds were the team of Kevin Haynie, a freshman political science major from Bridgeton, Mo., and Justin Nichols, a freshman from Gladstone, Mo., and Cathy Clark, a senior history major Kansas City, Mo., and freshman Kristel Givogue, a freshman pre-business administration and English double major from Lake St. Louis, Mo. Reaching semifinals in the novice division was the team of Kristen Moore, a freshman political science and philosophy/religion double major from St. Louis, and Casey Sharp, a freshman from St. Joseph, Mo. Quarterfinalists were Jessica Carr, a freshman justice systems major from Park Hills, Mo., and Samuel Cummins, a freshman history major from Collinsville, Ill. Cummins was the top speaker in the novice division, followed by Sharp in fourth and Moore in fifth. In the open division Wittenauer was ranked the third best speaker and Haynie was ranked fourth.

Hobbs once again dominated the field for Truman in individual events. In the first half of the tournament Hobbs was the champion in persuasive speaking and ranked fifth in extemporaneous speaking. In the second half of the tournament Hobbs bested this record with a first place finish in both rhetorical criticism and impromptu speaking. She placed second in persuasive speaking as well. These awards confirm her qualification of persuasive speaking to the national tournament in April and bring her closer to the same goal in the other three events.

This is the first year Truman has co-hosted the Central States Tournament, sponsoring the Sunday portion of the tournament in individual events.

“This is part of an initiative started by the two programs last spring, in recognition of the articulation agreement that already exists between Truman and the Metropolitan Community Colleges,” Kevin Minch, director of forensics, said. “We will co-host two college tournaments and a high school tournament this season. Our hope is to encourage community college transfers into the Truman program and increase awareness of high school students that they have two linked options for their education in liberal arts and forensics.”
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