Last month, Truman State University’s debate team claimed first place at the Missouri Forensics State Tournament. Because of concerns presented by COVID-19, the tournament occurred virtually this year.
Students were able to give their speeches on campus in their meeting room rather than having to drive across the state and give their speeches separately. Some students found this a refreshing change of pace.
“Being in the same building … it’s nice to have more time with the team and being able to bond between rounds,” said senior Kayla Gerlt.
While students are normally separate from each other during the debate rounds, they were presented with a unique opportunity this year to log onto Zoom after they completed their speeches and watch their teammates compete through the virtual rooms.
Another benefit of having the tournament online was that it enabled several other universities, that normally would not attend, a chance to compete.
When it came time for the awards ceremony, all the team members were able to witness it in the same room. Multiple members said it was a great boost for team morale to be in such close proximity with one another.
Team members Ella Schnake, Megan Ford and Maya Krump all won awards for their performances in informative and oratorical speaking. Among the awards, Megan Trent was the State Champion and awarded 2nd place speaker, Sophomore Elijah Baum was a Semifinalist and awarded 3rd place speaker, Senior Jackson Elder was the State Champion in Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking, and Senior Kayla Gerlt was the State Champion in Duo Interpretation.
Following this tournament, the forensics team competed in the at the Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Tournament & Convention in Orlando, Florida where the team placed eighth in the individual sweepstakes and twenty-fourth in the debate sweepstakes.