Ottawa University's Forensics Team earned its first national champions during the 2014 Public Communication National Tournament on February 22-23 at Simpson College in Indianola, IA.
The tournament offered four speech events: Radio Broadcast Communication, Poetry Slam, DuoImprovisational Pairs, and Editorial Impromptu Speaking. It also offered a Public Forum debate event with the topic, “Congress should restore funding to the SNAP program to pre-November 2013 levels.”
In the speech events, freshman Cody Cokely (Iola, KS) and his partner, sophomore Corban Hickman (Camdenton, MO), competed in Duo Improvisational Pairs and took home Ottawa University’s first national championship. The event involves the team receiving a topic and, in three minutes, plotting and planning a scenario—usually humorous.
Hickman also placed 6th in Editorial Impromptu speaking—an event where students read a newspaper editorial and, after 3 minutes, perform an organized and erudite speech affirming or negating its principle arguments. For the tournament, he earned 6th overall in individual events.
The debate team, which consisted of freshmen Jacyn Dawes (Garden City, KS) and Cokely, placed 4th, while junior Brooke Worley (Conway Spring, KS) took 7th in Slam Poetry.
As a team of 10, Ottawa University took 4th in individual events and 4th overall.
The event was the inaugural tournament for the Public Communication Speech and Debate League (PCSDL), which was developed in an attempt to directly link the competitive skills achieved in forensics with real world opportunities. The League’s goal is to offer speech and debate events that provide opportunities for students to express their own voices in areas gaining fast interest in business and communication fields.
The tournament hosted eight schools from the Midwest, including AIB College of Business, Marietta College, Northwest MO State, Ohio University, Ottawa University, Pranav Chaudhary (individual entry), Simpson College, and Ball State University.
“I am incredibly proud of our team and the outcome they achieved,” said Forensics Coach Ryan Louis. “It was a great event to which to bring the whole team. We were also glad to have along alumni of our program, as it is our mission to bring together past and current generations of team members to spend time together in competition, education and friendship.”