Sterling College Forensics Team Member Captures Championship at Novice Nationals

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sundays are not usually days of quiet rest for the Sterling College Forensics and Debate Team, and March 28 was no exception. Five members of the squad spent that Sunday at the 28th annual Novice National Tournament at Hutchinson Community College with the goal of creating some real noise about the Sterling program. They were successful; the five members finished the day with one national championship, six final round individual finishes and a second-place team finish.

Vance Stegman, a first-year student from Lyons, captured the National Championship in After-Dinner Speaking, a persuasive presentation delivered in a lighthearted manner. Stegman tackled the difficult but very real problem of sexually transmitted diseases among the elderly, an issue that he says is “a plague to those affected.” He dealt well with the topic; every one of his judges declared him first, and he received recognition for this during the awards ceremony. “This was definitely one of my best performances,” said Stegman. “One factor was how well the crowd interacted, and this audience was very receptive.”

The five SC students competed in six events and finished in the final rounds in all six events. Alex Lawhon-Bush, a first-year student from Newton, received fourth place overall in Extemporaneous Speaking. Alex spoke about the need for additional talks between the United States and Russia regarding the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Fay Carey, a junior from Sterling, and Melzora Towne, a sophomore from Sterling, advanced to the final round of Parliamentary debate where they dropped a close decision to Abilene Christian. They finished in second place overall with a 7-2 record. Nolan Chaney, a first-year student from Hutchinson, was awarded second overall in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Lawhon-Bush and Chaney also competed together in Parliamentary debate. They advanced to the quarterfinal round of competition and finished in fifth place after a loss to NW Arkansas.

In team sweeps, Sterling finished second overall. “This fact is very remarkable when you consider the fact that we had only five students competing,” said Coach Ken Troyer. “Many other schools had five times that number of participants.”

The team competed at the AFA National Tournament April 2-7 and will compete at the NFA National Tournament at Ohio University April 15-19.