Speech and debate team sweeps first competition


Submitted to The Simpsonian

Speech Team: Abby Fry, Kylie Doupnik, Elise Sturgeon, and Mo Marks celebrate after winning their first team championship last weekend.

by Abby Ludwig, Social Media Editor

The speech and debate team started out strong this past weekend, with multiple wins at the virtual Forensic 500 in Indianapolis and the Western Kentucky University’s Tournament.

Simpson’s speech team won their first team sweepstakes/championship this weekend, competing virtually in Indianapolis at the Forensic 500 with 150 points while the debate team placed second in team points. There were 16 colleges and universities competing, 92 students total. At Western Kentucky, four students competed.

Full results for the Western Kentucky University Tournament are as follows:

Teagan Townsend: Tournament Champion in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate, Tournament Champion in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas; Mo Marks: Tournament Champion in After Dinner Speaking, third in Communication Analysis; Kylie Doupnik: second in After Dinner Speaking; Elise Sturgeon: sixth in Persuasive Speaking

Full results for the Forensic 500 are as follows: 

In Speech at Forensics 500:

Simpson College placed First Overall in Individual Event Sweepstakes; Kylie Doupnik: fourth in Impromptu Speaking, third in After Dinner Speaking; Elise Sturgeon: first in Persuasive Speaking; Abby Fry: first in Novice Impromptu Speaking, first in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking; Mo Marks: first in Extemporaneous Speaking, first in Impromptu Speaking, first in Communication Analysis, first in After Dinner Speaking, first in Informative Speaking, second in Persuasive Speaking. 

In debate at the Forensics 500:

Elise Sturgeon & Kylie Doupnik: Quarter-Finalist in Parliamentary Debate

Ryan Corcoran & Ryan Magalhaes: Quarter-Finalist in Parliamentary Debate 

Top Speaker in Parliamentary Debate: Ryan Magalhaes

Second Speaker in Parliamentary Debate: Elise Sturgeon, Second in Debate Sweepstakes

Spencer Waugh, head instructor of speech and debate, commented on this year’s team and what strengths the group holds.

“We returned the bulk of last year’s team. There is a lot of energy and excitement. Students are channeling that energy into hard work at practice,” Waugh said.

Waugh went on to say some competitions will be in person this season and that students are ready to compete in person again. The speech and debate team had not traveled for 18 months prior due to the pandemic.

Waugh gave a quick run-through of how scoring works for speech and debate: “For team points, it works similarly to a track meet or a swim meet.  Our debaters earn points for each round that they win, and the speech students are ranked first through sixth in groups of six by the event.  They earn points if they rank in the top half.”

Waugh is most excited about in-person tournaments and the Riverfest competition in Kansas City.

“At the Riverfest, we will likely have over 25 students competing. It will be fantastic to have that many students engage in academic discourse with students from across the country.”

Senior Elise Sturgeon, who placed first in Persuasive Speaking, believes the team has a strong focus on collective success as a group.

We all try to lift each other up and focus on the team win above all,” Sturgeon said.

Sturgeon is most excited about the possibility of performing in person for her senior year.