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Kansas Wesleyan University

Kansas Wesleyan’s DECA program has dominated the state for the past several seasons, and although other programs showed great improvement this year, the 2023 competition was still controlled by the Coyotes. KWU took first place in seven of the 11 events at this year’s meet, held Feb. 24 at Tabor College in Hillsboro.

“This year’s judges were impressed with the continued strength of our program,” said Dr. Trish Petak, associate professor of business and accounting and DECA coach. “They also said, however, that the competition level has improved tremendously. This is great for our team, as it better prepares us for internationals later this semester.”

All 14 Coyote competitors left with medals, which are awarded to the top three finishers in each event. Many events had an increased number of participants from past years, often featuring as many as 10 entries.

Two sets of Coyote teammates earned a pair of first-place finishes, as the team of Maddy Beckett and Alexis Utz (Business Ethics/Event Planning) and the pairing of Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones (International Marketing/Sports and Entertainment) both finished atop the podium in a pair of events. Brian Nelson (Managerial Accounting) and Taylor Lang (Retail Management) recorded first-place finishes in individual events, while Guthrie Burch and Grace Skelton teamed to win the Advertising Campaign category in the prepared events discipline.

Runner-up finishes included Lang (Human Resources Management) in individual events, as well as teams of Josie Koppes and Abigail Steinfort (Business-to-Business Marketing), Trey Duffey and Connor Waltz (International Marketing) and Clay Gagnon and Isaac Stanton (Marketing Communication) did so in team events.

Nelson (individual, Financial Accounting), Gagnon and Stanton (team, Business-to-Business Marketing) and Duffey and Waltz (team, Sports and Entertainment Marketing) rounded out the Coyote medalists with third-place results.

“I’m excited to see the intensity of the state competition escalate,” said Petak. “Our newcomers, in particular, got tremendous experience going against some very effective programs. This meet will prepare our entire squad for the international event, and we look forward to bringing hardware home to Salina once again.”

Tabor College, the University of Kansas, Fort Hays State, Wichita State and Cowley College were the other schools to participate. The 2023 DECA International event will be held April 15-19 in Orlando, Fla. and is expected to have in excess of 100 schools competing.