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Bethel College forensics earns top small school award at state tournament

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SALINA, KAN. -- The Bethel College forensics squad had a great weekend in Salina Feb. 18-19, and its members were rewarded when Bethel earned the top small school award for forensics in the state of Kansas. Squad members earned 17 awards over two days at Kansas Wesleyan University, including three sweepstakes awards. On Saturday, Bethel College placed first among the six small schools competing and third overall. In addition, at the debate tournament the next day, Bethel College earned first place overall as the best debate school in the state.

Ten members of the team participated in the tournament. They competed against teams from 10 other colleges and universities at the State of Kansas Individual Events and Parliamentary Debate tournaments.

Bethel College students’ performance in the individual events on Saturday placed them ahead of teams from five other colleges and universities in the "small school" category: Baker University, Hesston College, Kansas Wesleyan, Ottawa University and Washburn University.

During the individual events tournament, Lindsey Miller, senior from Haven, was named state champion in informative speaking, which also qualifies her to compete at the American Forensic Association Nationals in this event.

Justin Shook, junior from Lyons, placed second in communication analysis, fifth in after dinner speaking and sixth in extemporaneous speaking. Shannon Carey, sophomore from Moundridge, placed second in impromptu speaking and third in after dinner speaking. Carey’s rank qualifies her to travel to nationals in after dinner speaking.

Robert Weaver, junior from Wichita, placed second in extemporaneous speaking and third in impromptu speaking. Becky Schulz, freshman from Newton, placed fifth in extemporaneous speaking. Bethany McElhiney, junior from Wichita, placed sixth in prose interpretation.

"Kansas colleges and universities have a strong tradition of quality competition in forensics," said John McCabe-Juhnke, professor of communication arts and the director of Bethel College’s forensics program. "It’s especially gratifying to be recognized among the best. The small school award is a tribute to the talent and dedication of our students, who put in long hours in preparation and travel throughout the year."

On Sunday, the Bethel College debate team was at Kansas Wesleyan again for the state parliamentary debate competition. Lindsey Miller and Peter Miller, sophomore from Haven, were the state champions in debate after going completely undefeated throughout the tournament. In individual speaking awards, Peter Miller was named the top debate speaker in the state.

Schulz and Cory Buchta, sophomore from Newton, earned third place in team competition, while Weaver placed fourth overall in individual speaking competition.

Sophomore Kristin Watson-Drennen, Lyons, and freshman Allen Harpool, Moundridge, also attended both tournaments.

The next project for the Thresher squad will be to host a high school tournament on Bethel’s campus on Saturday, February 25.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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