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Talkin’ Broncos Earn Fifth Consecutive National Title

Talkin' Broncos team photo
Talkin’ Broncos, group photo, Allison Corona photo.

The Talkin’ Broncos recently finished their 2018-19 season at Pi Kappa Delta nationals hosted by Hofstra University in New York. The tournament included 77 colleges and universities from across the country, including representation from Illinois State, Webster, Carson-Newman, Ohio State and Southwest Baptist University.

The Talkin’ Broncos took second place overall in debate sweepstakes and first place in individual event sweepstakes. When combined, this meant that Boise State was the top school, placing first in overall team sweepstakes.

“We had spent all season working towards maintaining our reign. With the students solidifying their fifth consecutive national title, they let the nation know that they came to win,” said Amy Arellano, interim director of forensics.

Only ten students in attendance received the coveted Pi Kappa Delta All-American Award. All-American competitors not only perform well at tournaments, they demonstrate a high academic and volunteer record. Boise State took home three out of the ten of the awards: Sam Haskell (senior – Tacoma, WA), Tate Volbrecht (junior – Billings, MT), and Janice Witherspoon (senior – Caldwell).

Excellence status is awarded to those students who performed in the top 30 percent of a specific event. Talkin’ Broncos who received Excellence in debate were: Sergio Sarmiento (freshman – Nampa) in junior IPDA; Kaitlyn Rogers (senior – Boise) and Connor Johnson (junior – Billings, MT) in open IPDA; Sarmiento and Kevin Trombly (junior – Boise), Rogers and Sam Haskell, and Tate Volbrecht and Asia Miller (senior – Green River, WY) in public forum debate. Alma Ceja (freshman – Sun Valley), Andrew Castro (senior – White Plains, NY), Gabe Guerrero (freshman – Shelley), Emma Freitas (freshman – Nampa), and Izanna Stoddard (junior – McCall) also received Excellence in discussion.

In speech events, Boise State also took home quite a few Excellence awards: Witherspoon, Eddy Encinas (junior – Jerome) and Ximena Bustillo (junior – Nampa) in after dinner speaking; Jamie Maas (Senior – Eagle), Haskell, Sarmiento and Rogers in broadcast journalism; Volbrecht, Rogers and Bustillo in communication analysis; Ceja, Kaelee Novich (junior – Nampa) and Witherspoon in dramatic interpretation; Haskell and Miller in duo interpretation; Maas, Bustillo and Encinas in extemporaneous speaking; Brian DelToro (freshman – Boise) and Maas in impromptu speaking; Kortni Clements (senior – Meridian) in informative speaking; Zach Hill (junior – Kuna), Novich, Johnson and Clements in persuasive speaking; Sarmiento and Castro in poetry interpretation; Haskell and Castro in programmed oral interpretation; Stoddard, Castro and Novich in prose interpretation; Bianca Hanson (junior – Powell, WY), Cailey Rankin (senior – Boise), Rogers, Johnson, Stoddard, Clements, Novich and Encinas in interviewing.

Superior status is given to those students who were among the top 10 percent of the competition. The Talkin’ Broncos took home many Superiors, including in debate: Rankin in novice IPDA; Encinas and Trombly in junior IPDA; Bustillo and Johnson, DelToro and Hanson, and Maas and Novich in public forum debate; DelToro and Hanson in junior NPDA. Novich received the Superior in discussion, and was recognized as the champion of that event.

Boise State also did well in Student Congress, receiving several Superior awards: Castro, Ethan Romriell (freshman – Mineola, NY), Freitas and Guerrero. Guerrero also was named the national champion in student congress.

Boise State speech events also received Superior accolades: Haskell in after dinner speaking; Romriell, Hill, Witherspoon and DelToro (champion) in broadcast journalism; Castro in dramatic interpretation; Volbrecht and Johnson in extemporaneous speaking; Trombly, Witherspoon and Volbrecht in impromptu speaking; Haskell in poetry interpretation; Witherspoon in programmed oral interpretation; Haskell in prose interpretation; Trombly and Freitas in interviewing.

“I got teary as several of our awards were announced. One would think the Talkin’ Broncos would be used to such accolades by now – but part of this team’s culture is to emphasize how we shouldn’t take winning for granted,” said Christina Ivey, interim assistant director of forensics.

The Talkin’ Broncos are the 2018-19 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 Manda Hicks, director of speech and debate at Boise State at