Debate Team Concludes Great Season on Successful Note

Simpson’s Speech & Debate team capped off another impressive season with a strong showing in the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, held March 23 in Indianapolis, Ind.

How successful was this season? Consider this: Members of Simpson’s public forum debate team finished first or second in all six tournaments they participated in this season.

Among the highlights of the Pi Kappa Delta Tournament:

*The team of Paul Safford and Jacob McLain were named national runners-up in Varsity Public Forum Debate. Ethan Fredrick and Jacy Gomez advanced to the semi-final round.

*McClain was named 2nd Speaker in the tournament. Fredrick received the 5th Speaker award, and Gomez was the 8th Speaker.

*Robert Lyons placed second in Student Congress Debate.

*Tegan Jarchow and Emma Kain advanced to the semi-final round in Novice Public Forum. Kiley Murray was named 5th Speaker, and Kain 8th Speaker.

In all, 12 Simpson speech and debate team members competed in 95 rounds of competition against 72 colleges and universities and finished 14th. That’s impressive considering that all of Simpson’s students were either first- or second-year students, and that the tournament includes colleges and universities of all sizes.

Simpson finished 21st in the same tournament a year ago.

Simpson’s newly-formed speech team participated in the tournament for the first time in two decades. The duo improv pair of Lyons and Gomez ranked first in the first round, but struggled in rounds two and three. Ellen Keyser would have reached the quarterfinals in her event had she not barely gone past the time limit.

Coach Spencer Waugh was proud of the team’s effort.

“These students work so hard,” he said. “They research. They do case and strategy sessions. They must adapt during round breaks where they have to counter new evidence. They must analyze their audience across the full spectrum of events.

“The stamina it takes, the nerve to compete from 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. for three days at a national tournament is daunting. And if you take a round, you cannot give up because every sweepstakes point counts. It is exciting to see Simpson College return to the National Tournament it hosted in 1922.”

In fact, Simpson was one of the first chapters to join Pi Kappa Delta in 1918.

Simpson student Marissa Belau explained what she enjoyed most about the tournament: “Everyone’s outgoing, friendly and just as, if not more, crazy than I am. It was fun to interact with people from across the USA. Love my team, even if Ethan got us lost almost every time he was put in charge of the GPS. Spending the weekend with those who love getting up and speaking in front of people as much as I do was absolutely amazing.”

Waugh can hardly wait for the next speech and debate season to begin.

“I believe we can be in the top 10 in overall team points at the national tournament,” he said. “The team will be bigger. All of our current members will return, and we have some incoming first-year students who will bring their experience to the team.”


INDY 500, Hosted by Indiana University – Purdue University,  Indianapolis, IN. Sept. 20-21, 2013.

Varsity Parliamentary Debate:  Quarterfinalist, Ethan Fredrick  & Jacy Gomez

2nd Speaker: Ethan Fredrick (in a field of 54 speakers)

Novice Parliamentary Debate:  Quarterfinalist, Jacob McLain & Paul Safford


Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest, Hosted by Bethany Lutheran, Mankato, MN. Oct. 18-19, 2013.

Parliamentary Debate 2nd Place, Fredrick & Gomez


Marshall! Hosted by Marshall University, Huntington, WV.  Oct. 25-26, 2013

Public Forum Champions: 14-2 overall record

Top Speaker: Fredrick

2nd Speaker: McLain

3rd Speaker: Gomez & Emma Kain (tie)

6th Speaker: Kiley Murray

Debate Team Sweepstakes: 2nd Place, Large School Division

Combined (Speech & Debate) Team Sweepstakes: 4th Place

Novice Impromptu: Fredrick 4th, Murray 6th

Duo Improv: Tyler Millard & Fredrick 2nd

Pi Kappa Delta Awards of Excellence in Speech: Fredrick & Kain, & Millard


McDonnell Tournament, Hosted by  Marietta College, OH.  Nov 1, 2013

Varsity Parliamentary Debate: 1st Place, 7-0, Gomez, Fredrick

Top Speaker: Ethan Fredrick

Team Sweepstakes: 2nd Place


Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest, Hosted by Bethany Lutheran, Mankato, MN. Nov. 19, 2013

Parliamentary Debate: 2nd Place, Paul Safford & Dana Bohan

Team Sweepstakes: 1st Place


Butler Bulldog, Hosted by Butler University, Indianapolis, IN.  Jan. 17-18, 2014.

Public Forum Champion: Jacy Gomez & Robert Lyons

Debate Team Sweepstakes: 1st Place

Top Speaker: Gomez

2nd Speaker: Lyons

Varsity Parliamentary Debate: Quarterfinalist: Safford & Gomez

5th Place Poetry, Kain


Gorlok Gala, Hosted   University, St Louis, MO. Jan 24-26, 2014

Public Forum Champions: Fredrick & Gomez, 7-0

Public Forum Quarterfinalist: Nate Connealy & Alex Severn

Public Forum Quarterfinalist: Safford & McLain

Debate Sweepstakes 7th Place (out of 45)

Parliamentary Debate: Top Speaker: Gomez (out of 44), 2nd Speaker: Fredrick

Excellence In Speech: Ellen Keyser, Impromptu.


Missouri State Debate Championship, Hosted by University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg. Feb. 14-15, 2014.

Public Forum Champions: Safford & Gomez

Public Forum Semifinalist: Tegan Jarchow & McLain

2nd Speaker: Gomez

3rd Speaker: McLain

6th Speaker: Safford


Parliamentary League of the Upper Midwest, Hosted by Bethany Lutheran, Mankato, MN. Nov. 19, 2013

Parliamentary Debate: 1st Place, Gomez, Safford, & Tegan Jarchow

Team Sweepstakes: 3rd Place        


Public Communications Speech & Debate League National Tournament, Indianola, IA Feb. 22-23.

Public Forum National Runners-up: Lyons & McLain

Debate Sweepstakes: 1st Place

National Champion Speaker: Jacy Gomez

4th Speaker: Severn

5th Speaker: Connealy

Radio Broadcasting: Keyser, 2nd Place.  Kain 6th Place.

Duo Improv: Millard & Fredrick, 3rd Place.  Ashley Gomez & Lyons 5th Place


Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, Hosted by IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN. Mar. 20-23

Public Forum National Runners-up: Safford & McLain

Public Forum Semifinalists: Fredrick & Gomez

Debate Sweepstakes: 14th Place (out of 72)

2nd Speaker: McLain

5th Speaker: Fredrick

Public Forum Novice Semifinalist: Jarchow & Kain

6th Speaker: Murray

Student Congress:  2nd Place: Lyons

“Sweepstakes” is another word for overall team points.  It is scored similarly to that of team sporting events, like track or swimming.  Individual students and teams earn points for each event where they do well.  Several of the sweepstakes awards above are at tournament where we were competing between 10 and 70+ schools for the top spot.

It is important to remember that every team member is a part of the sweepstakes award.

The Simpson College 2013-2014 Speech & Debate Team:

Marissa Belau, Michelle Beving, Dana Bohan, Nate Connealy, Ethan Fredrick, Ashley Gomez, Jacy Gomez, Tegan Jarchow, Emma Kain, Ellen Keyser, Robert Lyons, Jacob McLain, Tyler Millard, Kiley Murray, Jordan Rude, Paul Safford