The University of Southern Mississippi Forensics Society recently placed 12th in Combined Sweepstakes (Individual Events and Debate) at the 2014 Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament. The team ranked among 79 colleges/universities competing in the competition held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Thirteen students from Southern Miss competed in team and individual events. Participating students included Skye Gravenstuk, a senior from Long Beach, Miss., Taylor Sandridge, a junior from Coldwater, Miss., Lakelyn Taylor, a freshman from Long Beach, Miss., Mary Beth Wolverton, a junior from Hattiesburg, Miss., April Jackson, a freshman from Hammond, La., Connor Blakeney, a senior from Stringer, Miss., Rachael Reeves, a freshman from Monticello, Miss., Ryan Cone, a freshman from Hattiesburg, Miss., Joshua Von Herrmann, a junior from Hattiesburg, Miss., Austin Allen, a sophomore from Pascagoula, Miss., Meredith McPhail, a sophomore from Mobile, Ala., NeKeshia Ellis, a senior from Quitman, Miss., and Christian Dasher, a junior from Ocean Springs, Miss.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing, talented group of students these past 2 years. It is incredible to see the improvement from 26th place last year to 12th this year. The results of this tournament reflect the hard work of the students and support from the university,” said Forensics Society Coach Frankie Glennis-Watts.
Christian Dasher placed 7th in speaker points, and Meredith McPhail also placed 2nd, making Southern Miss National Champions in the Novice International Public Debate Association category. The team also placed 9th in Debate Sweepstakes, and students placed in Readers Theatre, Open IPDA, Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking and Prose categories.
“Seeing the progress we have made since last year's national tournament really speaks to how hard the team has worked. We have grown tremendously, and it was an honor to travel and compete with everyone,” said Forensics Society member Meredith McPhail.
Other competing universities included William Carey University, Ohio University, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, University of Oklahoma, University of Notre Dame and Texas State University.
“Getting to compete at Pi Kappa Delta for Southern Miss was one of the best experiences I've had in college; the fact that our team was able to win so many awards at a national tournament only made the experience that much better,” said Forensics Society member Mary Beth Wolverton.