The Talking Mules speech and debate team opened their season by claiming the second place Overall Debate Sweepstakes trophy at the Hilltopper Swing Tournament hosted by Western Kentucky University Sept. 22-24.
“The tournament is the season opener for the truly serious schools competing in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate format,” said Jack Rogers, the director of forensics and head coach of the Mules. “It’s an invitational tournament, so even getting the opportunity to compete is pretty special.”
The tournament attracted entries from 10 colleges and universities from across the mid- and upper-Midwest: Wiley College, Truman, Western Kentucky, Purdue, Central Michigan, Hillsdale College, Illinois State, Sterling College, John Carroll College and the Mules.
Tyler Slinkard, senior political science major, advanced to the outrounds and won all the way through to the finals in the Open Division where he was pitted against a competitor from Wiley College, of the Great Debaters fame, where he lost on a 3-0 decision to claim second place.
Madison Marquardt, junior criminal justice major, advanced to the outrounds in the Open Division where she won her octo-final round but lost on a 2-1 split decision in quarter-finals.
Trenton Hawes, freshman political science major and Manuel Reyes, freshman business management major, both advanced through the outrounds. Both won their semi-final rounds to close out the final round, claiming first and second place in the Novice Division.
“I was super excited and proud of how our team did this weekend against some really tough competition,” said Alex Amos, graduate coaching assistant. “They worked really hard and deserved to win through.”
Amos is a graduate of Cameron University in Oklahoma and finished his undergraduate forensics career to join the coaching staff as a graduate student seeking his master’s in speech communication.
The team’s next competition is scheduled for Oct. 6-7 at the Bob Derryberry Memorial Tournament hosted by Southwest Baptist University.
Nikki Freeman, assistant director of forensics and individual events coach said SBU is the first tournament they attend with a full team of debate and individual events.
“We will enter a full slate of events and have our sights set on beating last year’s performance where we won first place sweepstakes trophies for the Team Overall and Debate Division, and second place in individual events,” she said.