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Kansas Wesleyan University

The term ‘Best in the World’ is not one that many groups can claim, but after the events of April, one program from Kansas Wesleyan University has a claim to the moniker. The KWU DECA program delivered an impressive performance at the organization’s international meet, contested April 9—12 in Baltimore, Md. All Coyote competitors placed in the top 10 in their events, making KWU the only school out of 100+ institutions competing to accomplish that feat.

Seniors Ryann Kats and Emily Monson led the way, earning the championship trophy in business-to-business marketing. Four other KWU teams or individuals finished second as the Coyotes bested schools such as DePaul, Rutgers, Pepperdine, the University of Texas – Austin and a pair of locations of the University of Wisconsin, both Madison and Whitewater.

“This was a tremendous effort by our team,” said Dr. Trish Petak, DECA coach and associate professor of business and accounting. “I’m so proud of their dedication, commitment and preparation. Students across the board acknowledge that DECA helps them build confidence, apply knowledge gained in the classroom and gain a competitive advantage when entering the workforce. Our team’s hard work translated into hardware, and they returned to Kansas better prepared for the future.”

Maddy Beckett and Alexis Utz were among the runner-up finishers, placing second in event planning, while Trey Duffey and Connor Waltz finished second in sports and entertainment marketing. Karley Benson (food and restaurant service management) and Brian Nelson (managerial accounting) earned individual second-place finishes.

A full capsule of KWU results is below.

First Place: Ryann Kats (Prairie View, Kan.) and Emily Monson (Cheney, Kan.) – Business-to-Business Marketing

Second Place: Maddy Beckett (Halstead, Kan.) and Alexis Utz (Kansas City, Mo.) – Event Planning

Second Place: Trey Duffey (Topeka, Kan.) and Connor Waltz (Niceville, Fla.) – Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Second Place: Karley Benson (Garden City, Kan.) – Food and Restaurant Service Management

Second Place: Brian Nelson (Jamestown, Kan.) – Managerial Accounting

Other top-10 finishers included: Taylor Lang (Hutchinson, Kan./Human Resource Management), Paige Welk (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Sales Management Meeting), Courtney Beers (Olathe, Kan.)/Linda Himes (Texarkana, Ark.) (International Marketing) and Cameron Becker (Coffeyville, Kan.)/Matthew Freriks (Stinnett, Texas) (Sports and Entertainment Marketing)

To learn more about collegiate DECA, please visit