Talking Mules finish second at state championships


Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The UCM Speech and Debate team finished second overall in the Missouri Intercollegiate State Championships Feb. 18-19 on campus.
The Talking Mules team won second place in the overall sweepstakes division and third place in the individual sweepstakes division. The team won 20 individual event awards and two team awards, making them the runner-up for the state championship.
Jack Rogers, director of forensics and the debate coach, said he was shocked and pleasantly surprised about the success of the team this year.
“I didn’t think that we’d be in the top three,” Rogers said. “For us, this is a very successful rebuilding year.”
Rogers said the Talking Mules lost a lot of seniors from last year, making the team very young.
Nikki Freeman, the debate team assistant coach, said it was great how the freshman rose up to help the Talking Mules be successful. She said several of the freshman broke into finals rounds.
“I think that speaks to our future,” Freeman said. “We’ve got some really great talent and leadership in some of our younger members.”
Freeman said this is a rebuilding year for the Talking Mules and, based on the team’s accomplishments, the future looks very strong for them.
Rogers said Michael Hutton, a second-year debate team member, stepped into a leadership role following the loss of last year’s senior class.
“We had to push him along and say ‘OK buddy, you’re it,’ because we got freshman,” Rogers said. “And he did very well.”
Hutton received state champion in overall individual events, first place and state champion in poetry, second in program oral interpretation, third in dramatic interpretation, fifth in dramatic duo with Alley Latham, and fourth in dramatic dinner speaking.
Hutton said the team is made up of amazing debaters who work really hard at the state tournament.
“The fact that we’ve come full circle and only gone down one ranking, is amazing to me,” Hutton said. “It’s a really good indicator of how much work we put into here.”
Rogers said he was pleased with freshmen debaters Madison Marquardt and Latham who ended up state champions their first year.
“That’s very gratifying when you see a freshman step up,” Rogers said.
Rogers said Marquardt did really well in the tournament, as she won third speaker and top novice in Lincoln Douglas Debate.
“That’s a tough debate division, and she did extremely well,” Rogers said. “That takes a lot of research and a lot of practice.”
Freeman said at the state tournament, there is not a lot of division with the size of schools. All the schools are thrown into the competition together, making it very competitive.
“I figured we’d do very well, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how we did overall,” Freeman said. “We are a fairly young team.”
The Talking Mules will travel to the United Kingdom March 5-20 to compete for the 2017 Montgomery Cup.