Western Speech and Debate Team Recognized Nationally

Pictured left to right: Steff Stephenson, Emmaleigh Kaler, Gina Meyer, Emelina Abram, Gabby Pacheco, Susan Schmid, Sierra Bernal, Samantha Eaton, Mellium Canford

Rock Springs – The Western Wyoming Community College Speech and Debate team has had a busy and productive season. They qualified for and attended three national tournaments based on their season long accomplishments.

College level competition has a season that runs from September through April with an average of two tournaments per month. They travel regionally and nationally to compete against the country’s toughest competitors.

The team began their national competition with the Pi Kappa Delta tournament held this year in Boise, ID. “This is our first year at this national tournament. It was close this year and we were excited to compete in multiple debate styles,” Coach McManus states regarding this national tournament.

There, the Public Forum Debate team of Susan Schmid and Sierra Bernal received the Excellence Award. Susan Schmid also brought home the Excellence Award in Impromptu Speaking. Steff Stephenson brought home the Excellence Award in Prose Interpretation as well. Gabrielle Pacheco, a freshman on the team, also traveled competing in IPDA Debate, Prose, and Impromptu Speaking.

“We have some incredibly hard working and talented 1st year students that will carry the team next year. They have spent quality time learning from our 2nd year students as well alumni and fellow competitors,” Coach McManus continues. “We were able to witness our alumni, Tanner Petersen (’16), place 1st in the nation in IPDA Debate. It is exciting to see our students transfer and continue their growth.”

The team then attended the AFA-NIET (American Forensics Association – National Individual Event Tournament) held in Peoria, IL. At this tournament, the team collectively brought in enough points to place 3rd in the nation at the community college level.

Coach McManus states that this is another first for WWCC Forensics and Wyoming Community Colleges. This follows last year’s top 20 finishes at the prestigious NPTE and NPDA Debate Nationals and Phi Rho Pi placements last year.

“We plan to continue at this national level,” Coach McManus says about the tournament. “I am so proud of our young students that have competed against large four year institutions that typically bring their 3rd and 4th year students. We brought 3 students (Sierra Bernal, Steff Stephenson, and Susan Schmid) to this tournament. That they were able to get us placed this high is quite a testament to their skills.”

WWCC Forensics ended the national tournament with the Phi Rho Pi tournament held in Washington D.C. At this tournament Susan Schmid brought home Gold in IPDA Debate. She also won Bronze in Impromptu Speaking. Steff Stephenson also earned Bronze in Prose Interpretation. WWCC also brought first year students Gabrielle Pacheco and Samantha Eaton.

Last year saw Susan Schmid and Tanner Petersen bring home major national placements at the NPTE, NPDA, and Phi Rho Pi Tournaments. “We were the first Wyoming Community College to break to out rounds ant the NPTE and NPDA last year,” Coach McManus states.

“This year we are the first to bring home such a great placement at AFA-NIET. 3rd in the nation at the community college level is such a great accomplishment. Our students are a committed and focused group that this community should be proud to call their own.”

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