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Earns 6th National Championship in Last 7 Seasons


Simpson College’s prolific Speech & Debate team is once again national debate champions.

The Storm posted the top Debate Sweepstakes score at the 62-team Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament held March 15-18 at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Simpson took third place in the overall Speech & Debate Sweepstakes.

Simpson’s impressive performance included two individual national titles and four national runners-up. Alyssa Beckwith ’24 received National Champion Speaker honors in Public Forum Debate while Sydni Powell ’26 was the Tournament Champion in Student Congress.

Varsity national runners-up included Mo Marks ‘22 for Extemporaneous Speaking and the duo of Ryan Corcoran ‘25 and Abby Fry ‘25 for Open Public Forum Debate. Elsewhere, teammates Zach Harnden ‘26 and Maddux Stout ‘25 placed second in Junior Varsity Public Form Debate, while Gracie Crow ‘26 and Maggie Fitzpatrick ‘25 captured second place in Junior Varsity Parliamentary Debate.

I am exceptionally proud of how hard our students worked,” said Spencer Waugh, Simpson’s director of Speech & Debate. “Practice began in late August, and their disciplined diligence paid off at the national tournament. They gave up their spring breaks to engage in dialogue and critical thinking with other students from across the country. It was another great weekend for our team and Simpson College.”

Overall team standings were as follows:

Debate Team Points

1. Simpson College

2. Grove City College

3. Weber State University

4. University of Central Florida

5. Boise State University


Speech & Debate Combined

1. Western Kentucky University

2. University of Alabama

3. Simpson College

4. Ohio University

5. Boise State University


In all, 27 students competed in the national event. Here are the other individual results:

Ryan Corcoran ‘25: 

Excellence in Impromptu

Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Interpretation 

Kyle Werner ‘25: 

Excellence in Impromptu 

Mo Marks ‘22:

Second Place in Extemporaneous Speaking

Fifth Place in Impromptu Speaking 

Fifth Place in Pentathlon 

Quarterfinalist in After Dinner Speaking 

Quarterfinalist in Communication Analysis 

Abby Fry ‘25:

Semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking

Quarterfinalist in Editorial Impromptu Speaking 

Excellence in Extemporaneous Speaking

Third Place Public Forum Speaker

Ryan Magalhaes ‘25:

Quarterfinalist in Impromptu Speaking 

Excellence in Editorial Impromptu Speaking

Tempest Allred ‘24: 

Quarterfinalist in Dramatic Interpretation Speaking 

Flory ‘24:

Semifinalist in Editorial Impromptu Speaking 

Sydni Powell ‘25: 

Tournament Champion in Student Congress

Presiding Officer Award

Emma Conley ‘25: 

Fifth Place in Slam Poetry 

Zach Harnden ‘26

Excellence in Interviewing

Alyssa Beckwith ‘24: 

National Champion Speaker in Public Forum Debate

Anja Waugh ‘25: 

Fourth Place Public Forum Speaker 

National Runner-up in Open Public Forum Debate: Ryan Corcoran ‘25 & Abby Fry ‘25

Junior Varsity Public Forum Debate:

National Runner-up: Zach Harnden ’26 & Maddux Stout ‘25

 Junior Varsity Parliamentary Debate

National-Runner-up: Gracie Crow ‘26 & Maggie Fitzpatrick ‘25

Public Forum Debate Varsity

Semi-finalists: Anja Waugh ‘25 & Alyssa Beckwith ‘24 

Varsity Parliamentary Debate

Octafinalists: Scott Krueger ‘24 & Teagan Townsend ‘25

Quarterfinalists: Kyle Werner ‘25 & Breanna Drahota ‘25