Speech and Debate squad finishes 4th nationally

The Missouri Southern Speech and Debate squad finished 4th nationally out of 94 schools in the team sweepstakes at the 40th National Forensics Association (NFA) National Championships held April 14-18 in Normal, Ill.  26 states were represented at the championships.

Three MSSU students made the trip to Normal, and two of them qualified for elimination rounds in Lincoln-Douglas debate.  

Michael Johnson, senior education major, lost in the round of 32, but Kyle Buzzard, senior business/economics major, made it to the national quarter-final round.

In addition, Johnson won an individual speaker award, finishing 8th in the nation.

“There is a winner and a loser in Lincoln-Douglas debate,” said Kelly Larson, director of forensics.  “But speakers are also given speaker points for speaking style and effectiveness, and Michael received enough of those to finish 8th.”

Larson was given the Eddie Myers NFA Distinguished Service Award for his national contributions to NFA, specifically Lincoln-Douglas debate.

“The award symbolizes a significant contribution for the education goals for speech and debate, and I was honored,” Larson said.

The students put in about 20 hours a week in preparation before their departure.  While they were at the national tournament, they worked 10 hours per day to ensure they were ready.

“Clearly we had a smaller team this year, but their willingness to work is why they went as far as they did,” Larson said.