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Forensics and Debate
The Kansas Wesleyan University competitive Forensics and Debate Program was established to provide a place for those students who had enjoyed high school forensics and debate and wanted to continue that experience. Today, that mission continues and has included students who have never competed in debate and forensics before college. The mix has been successful as—with Autumn Zimmerman being named National Champion Novice Parliamentary Debate Speaker at the NCCFI in San Diego, CA, on Mar. 5–7, 2016— our squad now has won 30 national championships. The KWU squad has been competitive in about 12 regional and national tournaments each year, facing schools from across the United States. The team makes yearly or bi-annual trips to Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and California to compete.
2015–16 Season Highlights
The KWU squad did well during the 2015–16 season, starting with a first place finish in debate competition at its first tournament of the year last September, topping the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Central Missouri.
Next, in a field of 14 schools, KWU finished just ahead of host South Dakota State University, a school about 13 times the size of KWU, with performances that included first, second and third place finishes.
At the Missouri Mule, facing about 40 colleges and universities, Kansas Wesleyan claimed second place overall in the school debate competition, beating out such schools as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Western Kentucky University.
At the Red River Swing in November, KWU debaters claimed first, third, fourth and sixth places in various events, finishing fifth in Debate and ninth overall out of 28 schools.
At the Cameron University Christmas Classic in December, KWU won first place overall in the debate school sweepstakes against teams from Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Kansas.
At the Sweetheart Swing in February, Kansas Wesleyan claimed second place in the school debate sweepstakes in a field of 18 colleges and universities, including Texas A&M, University of Texas, Texas Christian University and the University of Alabama.
Also in February, KWU placed first in the school debate sweepstakes at the Tolson/True Swing at TCU, out of a field of more than a dozen schools.
At the National Christian College Forensics Invitational at Point Loma University, the KWU team picked up some first- and second-place awards in a field of speakers from 23 Christian colleges and universities, including freshman Autumn Zimmerman being named National Champion Novice Parliamentary Debate Speaker, bringing KWU up to 30 national championships.
For the final tournament of the season, the team traveled to the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament at the University of Kentucky. Though KWU was one of the smallest schools in attendance, the Coyotes finished ranked #23 out of 83 colleges and universities.
RECENT TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Gary Harmon, Director of KWU Forensics and Debate
Since his arrival at KWU, Harmon’s Coyotes Forensics and Debate teams won 30 national championships. These were 19 varsity national championships and two school debate sweepstakes championships, with one All-American, plus 9 junior varsity and novice national championships.
PKD = Phi Kappa Delta; NCCFI = National Christian College Forensics Invitational;
LDOC = Lincoln Douglas Open Championship; NJVT = National Junior Varsity Tournament