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Talkin’ Broncos win ninth-consecutive Scheller Invitational Tournament championship

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

The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team won first-place in Overall Sweepstakes at the Scheller Invitational hosted by Pacific University Jan. 24-26. The Scheller marks the final conference tournament of the season and included students from Lewis and Clark College, Carroll College, Oregon State University, Willamette University, Whitworth University and others.

Boise State advanced seven of the tournament’s eight finalists in Open Public Debate, with top seed Alex Watt (junior, Boise) closing out the entire division with a quarter-final win against Whitworth.

“A ‘close out’ is when all the remaining competitors in the final bracket are from one school; at that point we stop debating and use preliminary round records to determine award rankings,” said Manda Hicks, director of forensics. “This is the fastest close out I’ve ever seen. The team just packed the bracket with Boise State debaters and then picked up an incredibly important round. It was a special thing to be present for.”

Tate Volbrecht (senior, Billings, Montana), Ximena Bustillo (senior, Nampa), Izanna Stoddard (senior, Boise), Kevin Trombly (junior, Boise), Zach Hill (senior, Kuna), and Bryce Funkhauser (junior, Meridian) were the second through seventh seeds emerging from preliminary rounds, and received finalist and semi-finalist awards. Connor Johnson (senior, Billings, Montana) received the second-place speaker award, with Watt, Trombly, Bustillo, Hill, Volbrecht and Funkhauser taking the third-place through eighth-place speaker awards, respectively.

In Junior Public Debate, Brie Ellison (sophomore, Eagle) was the tournament champion, advancing through three single-elimination outrounds to win finals. Ellison also received the first-place speaker award. Dylan Pope (freshman, Blackfoot) finished as a quarter-finalist and received the ninth-place speaker award. Brian Del Toro (sophomore, Boise), Julia Maas (sophomore, Meridian), Alex Hobson (freshman, Meridian) and Cora Knueven (freshman, Meridian) finished as octo-finalists, with Hobson receiving the second-place speaker award and Del Toro receiving the eighth-place speaker award.

In Novice Public Debate, Madison Martin (freshman, Oceanside, California) advanced through three outrounds of single-elimination debate and finished as tournament runner-up. Martin also received the first-place speaker award. Justin Lindsay (freshman, Ridgefield, Washington) finished as a quarter-finalist.

In Individual Events, Izanna Stoddard (senior, Boise) led the Talkin’ Broncos with three second-place finishes in informative speaking, persuasive speaking and communication analysis, and fourth-place in impromptu speaking. Alma Ceja (junior, Hailey) took first place in junior program oral interpretation, third place in poetry interpretation, and sixth place in junior prose interpretation. Both of the competitors were recognized as the tournament’s second-place overall individual sweepstakes winners; Stoddard in open division and Ceja in junior. Kaelee Novich (senior, Nampa) took first place in informative speaking, and fifth place in both poetry interpretation and persuasive speaking. Novich also was honored with the 2020 Megan Gaffney Award for embodying respect and inclusivity in the Northwest Forensics Conference community. Martin took first place in junior prose interpretation.

Other top competitors included: Bustillo, who took second place in extemporaneous speaking, third place in program oral interpretation, and fourth place in duo interpretation; Edson Valdisimo (sophomore, Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), who took second place in novice prose interpretation and fourth place in novice impromptu speaking; Lindsay, who took second place in junior extemporaneous speaking and sixth place in editorial commentary; Gabe Guerrero (sophomore, Shelley), who took second place in junior program oral interpretation; Julia Maas (sophomore, Meridian), who took second place in editorial commentary; Trombly, who took third place in editorial commentary and fifth place in extemporaneous speaking; Volbrecht, who took third place in impromptu speaking; Johnson, who took fourth place in duo interpretation and fifth place in both impromptu speaking and program oral interpretation; Pope, who took fourth place in junior prose interpretation, and fifth place in both junior extemporaneous speaking and editorial commentary; Hill, who took fourth place in both prose interpretation and editorial commentary; Funkhauser, who took fourth place in program oral interpretation; Del Toro, who took fourth place in junior extemporaneous speaking; Ellison, who took fifth place in junior prose interpretation and sixth place in poetry interpretation; Sergio Sarmiento (sophomore, Nampa), who took fifth place in program oral interpretation; and Hobson, who took sixth place in after dinner speaking.

The Talkin’ Broncos are the 2019-20 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: