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Kansas Wesleyan University

The KWU DECA team is sitting on top of the world. Again.

More than half of the team are world champions in their categories and all of the KWU competitors earned top-10 results at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Austin, Texas, April 20-23.

Undergraduate and MBA students from KWU competed with more than 100 universities and colleges, from Division 1 to junior colleges. Guthrie Burch and Kyla Ohlson claimed the world championship in Event Planning, while Oriana Botz and Abigail Palmer did so in Marketing Communications. Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones were the final duo to win a world title, as they accomplished the feat in Business Research.

“KWU DECA continues to get better each year,” said DECA Coach Dr. Trish Petak. “The team continues to not only impress me, but also Collegiate DECA members and coaches at the conference, as we are one of the most recognizable teams there.”

Burch, meanwhile, is closing out her DECA career with honors. With three top-three international results and four top-three state finishes, she is the most-decorated DECA competitor at Kansas Wesleyan. She is also the only one to have brought home a podium finish in two events at the international meet this year.

“DECA taught me so much about who I am and my abilities and gave me so much confidence to speak up,” Burch said.

Burch’s major is Marketing Communications.

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, some as little as 30 minutes.

A full capsule of KWU’s results appears below.

Individual Events

Top-10, Tru Haesemeyer — Restaurant and Food Service Management

Team Events

First Place, Guthrie Burch and Kyla Ohlson — Event Planning

First Place, Oriana Botz and Abigail Palmer — Marketing Communications

Third Place, Courtney Auld and Caleigh Evans — Entertainment Marketing

Top-10, Clay Gagnon and Isaac Stanton — Business-to-Business Marketing

Top-10, Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones — International Marketing

Prepared Events

First Place, Courtney Beers and Heidi Jones — Business Research

Third Place, Guthrie Burch and Tru Haesemeyer — Advertising Campaign

To learn more about Collegiate DECA, visit

Release by Jean Kozubowski.