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Kansas Wesleyan University

Kansas Wesleyan’s DECA team continued to make a case as one of the world’s best programs. KWU captured a pair of world championships and was the only school to have all of its competitors finish in the top 10 at this year’s International Career Development Conference, held in Orlando, Fla., April 15-18.

The conference was home to this year’s DECA International competition, where the Coyotes faced more than 100 schools and some 1,200 competitors.

“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication our team put into achieving this level of success,” said Dr. Trish Petak, who coaches the program. “Our students’ passion for business and commitment to DECA paid off, and it is an honor and blessing to work with a tremendously talented and driven pack of Coyotes.”

Brian Nelson, Trey Duffey and Connor Waltz were the world championship winners, as Nelson won an individual title in Managerial Accounting and Duffey and Waltz teamed up to win Sports and Entertainment Marketing. The wins give KWU three titles in the past two years, after Emily Monson ’22 and Ryann Kats ’22 captured a victory last season.

Other top-three finishers included Guthrie Burch and Grace Skelton, who were runners-up in the Advertising Campaign (prepared events) category, and Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones, who finished third in International Marketing (team event). A full capsule of Coyote finishers appears below.

“Although seven of our competitors graduate, they leave behind a lasting legacy,” said Petak. “They have set the bar extremely high and inspired and motivated future Coyote competitors to strive for excellence. I will miss these graduates more than words can express but am so thankful for the value they added to the team and the inspiration they provided to what is now one of the world’s most successful DECA programs.”


Individual Events:

First Place – Brian Nelson, Managerial Accounting

Fourth Place – Taylor Lang, Human Resource Management

Team Events:

First Place – Trey Duffey/Connor Waltz, Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Third Place – Courtney Beers/Heidi Jones, International Marketing

Fourth Place – Clay Gagnon/Isaac Stanton, Business-to-Business Marketing

Fourth Place – Brenna Mesecher/Abigail Steinfort, Marketing Communications

Sixth Place – Maddy Beckett/Alexis Utz, Event Planning

Prepared Events:

Second Place – Guthrie Burch/Grace Skelton, Advertising Campaign

DECA is an organized business competition that provides students with problems and requires them to present solutions. Some disciplines require a report written beforehand, while others involve an exam taken prior to the competition. All involve presentations with varying amounts of time to prepare, sometimes as little as 30 minutes.

For more information on Collegiate DECA, please visit