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Speech and debate team makes school history in tournament sweep

Speech team shines with eight individual champions


The Simpson College speech and debate team won the debate, speech and overall team sweepstakes championships at the Riverfest Tournament hosted by Park University held Oct. 8-9, sweeping all three categories at one tournament for the first time in school history. 

Simpson finished first out of seven schools and was recognized as the Top Pi Kappa Delta School. Simpson ran away from the competition in all three categories, beating the University of Central Missouri in both overall team points (371-108) and debate points (188-57) and beating North Central College in speech points (183-93).

The competition marked Simpson’s first in-person event since March 2020.

“It was so good to compete in-person again,” said Spencer Waugh, director of speech, debate and mock trial. “You could feel the energy and the excitement. The dynamics of the competition change when you are face-to-face. Competition over a computer screen just isn’t the same.”

First-year students Abby Fry and Ryan Corcoran defeated the University of Central Missouri 3-0 to win the Public Forum Debate division for the Storm. In the semifinals, sophomore Jenna Pfeiffer defeated her opponent from Park University 2-1 to set up a co-championship in IPDA Debate with senior Shelby McCasland. 

Simpson speech competitors claimed the top seven spots of the 13 individual events. Sophomore Mo Marks led the speech team with five individual top finishes. 

“This is a younger team, and they worked so hard to prepare for what really was the season opener for us,” Waugh said. “We certainly did not expect to win both categories of debate and sweep the speech events the way we did. Now we just need to keep practicing as we look toward the rest of the season.”

Full individual results are below. To learn more about Speech and Debate at Simpson College, visit simpson.edu/SpeechandDebate.

Riverfest Team Results

Champion, Overall Sweepstakes 
Champion, Debate Sweepstakes 
Champion, Individual Speech Event Sweepstakes
Top Pi Kappa Delta School

Riverfest Individual Results


Mo Marks:
Tournament Champion in Persuasive Speaking
Tournament Champion in Impromptu Speaking 
Tournament Champion Extemporaneous Speaking
Tournament Champion in Communication Analysis
Tournament Champion in Quadrathlon
Third in Informative Speaking 
Fifth in After Dinner Speaking

Elise Sturgeon:
Tournament Champion in After Dinner Speaking 
Second in Prose Interpretation
Second in Persuasive Speaking 
Third place in Interviewing

Kylie Doupnik: 
Third in After Dinner Speaking 
Fourth in Prose Interpretation
Fourth IPDA Speaker
Quarterfinalist in IPDA 

Andrew Flory: 
Second in Radio Broadcasting
Fourth Extemporaneous Speaking

Ryan Magalhaes:
Top Novice in Program of Oral Interpretation
Third in Dramatic Interpretation
Third IPDA Speaker 
Fourth in Program of Oral Interpretation

Abby Fry:
Top Novice in Radio Broadcasting 
Top Novice in Extemporaneous Speaking
Top Novice in Impromptu Speaking
Top Novice in Interviewing
Tournament Champion in Radio Broadcasting
Second in Extemporaneous Speaking 
Second in Interviewing
Fourth Public Forum Speaker

Jenna Pfeiffer:
Co-Champion in IPDA
Sixth in After Dinner Speaking

Shelby McCasland:
Co-Champion in IPDA 
Fifth IPDA Speaker 


Triniti Krauss:
Tournament Champion in Interviewing
Third Public Forum Speaker
Third in Extemporaneous Speaking 
Fourth in Radio Broadcasting
Fourth in Impromptu Speaking 

Ryan Corcoran:
Top Novice in Dramatic Interpretation
Second in Dramatic Interpretation
Fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking 
Sixth Public Forum Speaker

Kyle Warner:
Fifth in Poetry Interpretation

Tanner Tillotson:
Sixth in Radio Broadcasting

Faithyna Leonard:
Second in Quadrathlon
Third in Program of Oral Interpretation 
Fourth in Dramatic Interpretation
Fourth in Interviewing
Sixth in Impromptu Speaking 

Ilianna Murphy:
Sixth in Extemporaneous Speaking 

Sam Porter:
Quarterfinalist in IPDA 

Malcolm Smart:
Quarterfinalist in IPDA

Fox Harrington: 
Second IPDA Speaker 
Semifinalist in IPDA

Tournament Champions in Public Forum Debate:
Ryan Corcoran & Abby Fry

Semifinalists in Public Forum Debate:
Triniti Krauss & Alyssa Beckwith


About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.
Contact Information
Bryan Geelan, marketing communication director
Direct: 515-961-1608
Email: bryan.geelan@simpson.edu