Skip to main content

Talkin’ Broncos Chalk Up Another Big Win in Final Conference Tournament

Talkin' broncos Team Photo

The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team finished its 2017-2018 conference season with its third consecutive championship at the Scheller Invitational at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, Jan. 26-28.

The Talkin’ Broncos won first place in overall sweepstakes at the tournament, as well as first place overall in the conference.

The tournament featured more than 20 schools, including Carroll College, Oregon State University, Whitworth University, Lewis and Clark College and Willamette University.

“This is our last conference tournament of the season, and we finished strong,” said Manda Hicks, director of forensics. “At this point in the season, every member of the team has won a tournament championship in at least one event. That speaks to the breadth and depth of talent on this team.”

Here’s how it broke down:

In Open Public Debate, Hunter Carson (senior, Nampa) was the tournament champion and received the tournament’s fifth-place speaker award. Lauren Peña (senior, Meridian) finished as a semi-finalist and received the sixth-place speaker award. Madison Grady (senior, Whitefish, Montana) finished as a quarterfinalist. Other speaker awards included Sam Haskell (junior, Tacoma, Washington) in tenth place, and Kaitlyn Rogers (senior, Boise) in ninth.

In Junior Public Debate, Tate Volbrecht (sophomore, Billings, Montana) finished second place and received the third-place speaker award. Carson Lloyd (freshman, Boise) finished as a semifinalist. Connor Johnson (sophomore, Billings, Montana) and Andrew Castro (junior, White Plains, New York) both finished as quarterfinalists, with Johnson taking the fifth-place speaker award and Castro taking the second-place speaker award. Zach Hill (sophomore, Kuna) took the eighth-place speaker award.

In Open Parliamentary Debate, the teams of Mackenzie Moss (senior, Boise) and Hailie Johnson-Waskow (senior, Nampa) as well as Ximena Bustillo (sophomore, Nampa) and Jamie Mass (junior, Meridian) were quarterfinalists, with Moss receiving the tenth-place speaker award.

In Open British Parliamentary Debate, the team of Janice Witherspoon (junior, Caldwell) and Kortni Clements (junior, Meridian) were quarterfinalists. Witherspoon received the Northwest Forensics Conference Coach’s Commemorative trophy, recognizing her as the third top competitor overall in the conference.

In Individual Events, Castro led the Talkin’ Broncos with three first-place awards in editorial commentary, program oral interpretation and poetry interpretation, and sixth place in dramatic interpretation. Castro was recognized as the tournament’s second-best overall competitor in open/varsity competition. Asia Miller (junior, Green River, Wyoming) took first place in dramatic interpretation and third place in both informative speaking and after-dinner speaking. Haskell took first place in duo interpretation and third place in both dramatic interpretation and program oral interpretation. Mallory Clark (senior, Boise) took first place in duo interpretation and second place in program oral interpretation. Peña took first place in impromptu speaking, fifth place in poetry interpretation, and sixth place in prose interpretation. Clements took first place in persuasive speaking and fourth place in prose interpretation. Elizabeth Popp (senior, Columbia, Missouri) took first place in prose interpretation. Lloyd took first place in novice persuasive speaking and fifth place in junior impromptu speaking.

Other top competitors included:

Hill, who was recognized as the tournament’s top junior level competitor and took second place in junior prose, third place in editorial commentary, fourth place in communication analysis, and fourth place in extemporaneous speaking; Witherspoon, who took second place in both duo interpretation and dramatic interpretation. Bustillo, who took second place in duo interpretation, third place in junior extemporaneous speaking, and fifth place in junior prose interpretation; Carson, who took second place in informative speaking, and sixth place in both editorial commentary and poetry interpretation; Maas, who took second place in editorial commentary and third place in extemporaneous speaking; Volbrecht, who took second place in persuasive speaking and third place in communication analysis; Daniel Gardner (senior, Twin Falls), who took second place in prose interpretation and fourth place in dramatic interpretation; Rogers, who took second place in communication analysis and fifth place in prose interpretation; Kaelee Novich (sophomore, Nampa), who took third place in junior prose interpretation and sixth place in persuasive speaking; Moss, who took fifth place in editorial communication and sixth place in extemporaneous speaking; and Johnson-Waskow, who took sixth place in both program oral interpretation and informative speaking.

The Talkin’ Broncos finish their 2017-2018 season with the Public Debate National Championship hosted by Whitworth University in March. The Talkin’ Broncos are the 2017-2018 Pi Kappa Delta National Champions in Speech and Debate and are supported in part through the generosity of the Jeker Family Trust. For more information about the Talkin’ Broncos, contact Dr. Manda Hicks, director of forensics at Boise State at