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Talkin’ Broncos Finish Season with Third Place Overall at National Tournament

Talkin' Broncos

The Boise State University Talkin’ Broncos finished their season with third-place Overall Sweepstakes at the 20th annual International Public Debate Association national tournament hosted by Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, March 24-27. Thirty-eight schools from across the nation competed, including Louisiana State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Union College, University of Arkansas, and Utah State University.

IPDA nationals feature both team and individual debate. The Talkin’ Broncos advanced four teams and 10 single debaters to elimination rounds.

Amy Arellano, assistant director of forensics, explained, “The entire team has been preparing for this tournament for the last month; their focus and hard work paid off as the Talkin’ Broncos had the highest conversion rate of any other team to elimination rounds. This allowed the team to have more representatives within elimination rounds than any other school.”

The following students advanced in team debate: Jamie Maas (junior, Meridian) and Carson Lloyd (freshman, Boise); Mackenzie Moss (senior, Boise) and Hailie Johnson-Waskow (senior, Nampa); Kaelee Novich (sophomore, Nampa) and Zach Hill (sophomore, Kuna); and Daniel Gardner (senior, Twin Falls) and Hunter Carson (senior, Nampa). Maas and Lloyd finished as double-octofinalists. Moss and Johnson-Waskow and Novich and Hill were octofinalists. Gardner and Carson were quarterfinalists. Tate Volbrecht (Sophomore, Billings, Montana) received the 5th place speaker award in team debate.

In individual debate, Boise State dominated outround breaks with 10 Talkin’ Broncos advancing to elimination rounds.

The varsity competitors included: Moss, Carson, Elizabeth Popp (senior, Columbia, Missouri), Maas, Janice Witherspoon (junior, Caldwell). The junior varsity competitors included: Andrew Castro (junior, White Plains, New York), Asia Miller (junior, Green River, Wyoming), Ximena Bustillo (sophomore, Nampa), Volbrecht, and Connor Johnson (sophomore, Billings, Montana). Top speaking awards included: Maas in seventh place and Moss in third place for varsity.

Junior varsity speakers awards included: Castro in 10th, Hill in eighth place, Miller in third place, and Volbrecht in first place. The tournament also awarded cumulative trophies using performances from all IPDA tournaments for the 2017-2018 season. Volbrecht finished third place overall in the nation in the junior varsity division. The Talkin’ Broncos Varsity team finished fourth place overall in the nation.

Arellano noted, “These season-long trophies really highlight the excellence of these students as many of their competitors attend double or triple the amount of invitational tournaments throughout the year.”

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