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Talkin’ Broncos beat 43 schools from 18 states to win national tournament

2021-2022 Talking Bronco Team with Director of Forensics Manda Hicks
2021-2022 Talking Bronco Team with Director of Forensics Manda Hicks

The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team continued their 2022 national season with the overall tournament win at the 24th Annual Gorlok Gala at Webster University in St Louis. The tournament, hosted remotely Jan. 28 – 30, included competitors from Penn State, Lewis and Clark College, University of Utah, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Texas State University, Truman College and Simpson College.

In Public Forum Debate, Boise State advanced three teams to elimination rounds, with the team of Julia Maas (senior, Meridian) and Izzy Ceja (junior, Hailey) winning their semi-final round to tie with top seed team Brian Del Toro (senior, Boise) and Dylan Pope (junior, Blackfoot) and close out the remainder of the tournament bracket with the semi-finalist team of Emma James (senior, Boise) and Brie Ellison (junior, Eagle). Boise State dominated the tournament Public Forum speaker awards with James in seventh-place, Josh Young (senior, Meridian) in fifth-place, Ellison in fourth-place, Pope in third-place, Maas in second-place, and Del Toro in first-place. In International Public Debate, Boise State advanced four competitors to elimination rounds, with Kate Jacobson (junior, Boise) taking second-place overall and receiving the first-place speaker award in junior division. Madison Martin (senior, Oceanside, CA) won the fourth-place speaker award in open division and finished as a semi-finalist. Both Alison Hurst (sophomore, Boise) and Gabe Guerrero (senior, Shelly) finished as quarter-finalists.

In Individual Events, Pope won the Gorlok Pentathlon – an award that recognizes the tournament’s top competitor across all formats of individual events. This year there were 275 individual event entries. Pope took second-place in communication analysis, fourth-place in improvisational pairs, fifth-place in extemporaneous speaking, and sixth-place in duo interpretation. Alma Ceja (senior, Hailey) brought home her second national championship in individual events with a first-place finish in prose interpretation. Ceja also took third-place in both duo interpretation and improvisational pairs.

Other top competitors included: Edson Valdisimo (sophomore, Saipan, CNMI) who took third-place in duo interpretation, fourth-place in program oral interpretation, fifth-place in poetry interpretation, and sixth-place in dramatic interpretation; Maas, who took third-place in both persuasive speaking and improvisational pairs and was a semi-finalist in impromptu speaking; Del Toro, who took fourth-place in informative speaking and an excellent award in both extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking; Young, who took fourth-place in improvisational pairs and sixth-place in duo interpretation; Ethan Romriell (sophomore, New York), who took fourth-place in prose interpretation and seventh-place in improvisational pairs; Martin, who took fifth-place in program oral interpretation and an excellent award in prose interpretation; Izzy Ceja, who took fifth-place in communication analysis; Jacobson, who took fifth-place in informative speaking; and Hurst, who took seventh-place in improvisational pairs and was a semi-finalist in impromptu speaking.

The Talkin’ Broncos will next defend their national championship title at the Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Tournament, hosted by University of Central Florida March 9 – 12 in Orlanda, Florida. The Talkin’ Broncos are the 2019-2020 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 forensics at Boise State at