Western to host the Wind River District Speech and Debate Tournament

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Rebecca Gray and Thomas Jacob Walker are Western’s Speech and Debate national qualifiers this year. Photo by Luke Neilson

ROCK SPRINGS– Western Wyoming Community College will host the Wind River District Speech and Debate Tournament March 15-17, 2018, utilizing over 30 rooms with students competing from 8 am to 9:30 pm daily.

Western hosted the WY State Speech & Debate Tournament in 2011, 2012, & 2013 and hosted the Wind River Districts in 2010.

The competitions are held over Western’s spring break, when the campus can accommodate large tournaments – allowing the competition rooms and space needed for hundreds of Wyoming’s best high school students to compete in debate, individual events, and student congress.

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The Wind River District Speech and Debate Tournament is the qualifying tournament for students in this district. They will be competing to represent the district at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament.

The national tournament will be held June 17-22, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

WWCC is Excited to Host Tournament

“Western is excited to host this tournament that will showcase the amazing talent of our Wyoming students. It is a privilege to welcome these schools to our campus and our community. WWCC’s facilities are excellent for a tournament of this size and caliber.

“We look forward to celebrating the competitive academic accomplishments of these fine students,” said Kristy McManus Head Coach of WWCC’s Forensics Team.

Past National Qualifiers

In the past, two of WWCC’s top speakers were selected to compete at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament when they competed for Rock Spring High School: Susan Schmid and Sierra Bernal.

Schmid, along with partner Tanner Petersen (Farson), led WWCC to place in the top 15 at the prestigious NPTE and NPDA National Tournaments and both Schmid and Bernal led WWCC to the 3rd Place Community College Team Sweepstakes award at the AFA-NIET National Tournament last season.

They were also Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners at the Phi Rho Pi National Tournaments for multiple years. Both Schmid and Bernal compete for the University of Texas at El Paso.

Rachel Tolhurst (Rock Springs) and Cassie Heiner (Star Valley) represented the Wind River District at Nationals and later competed for WWCC.

This year’s national qualifiers are Rebecca Gray and Thomas Jacob Walker.

Tournament Takes Place One Week After Wyoming State Tournament

The high school season runs from November through March. The students attending this tournament will have just finished the Wyoming State Speech & Debate Tournament the previous weekend in Lander, WY.

This tournament will follow a “down and out” pattern in which students who place lower in each round will be eliminated. There will be 5 preliminary rounds of individual events, 6 of team and debate, and 2 of student congress.

This will set up final rounds in all events. From the final rounds, the national qualifiers will be decided.


WWCC’s 2016-17 Speech and Debate team: (left to right) Steffany Stephenson, Emmaleigh Kahler, Gina Meyer, Emelina Abram, Gabby Pacheco, Susan Schmid, Sierra Bernal, Sam Eaton, and Mellium Canford. Photo by Luke Neilson


About WWCC’s Speech and Debate Team

Western Wyoming Community College’s Speech and Debate Team has been going strong for the past eight years.

With many of their previous students now in graduate school or working on their Bachelor’s degrees at University of Texas at El Paso, Utah State University, and the University of Wyoming.

Western’s team members have qualified for – and competed at the national community college tournament Phi Rho Pi every year.

WWCC’s Speech and Debate Students are Recruited by Top Schools

They have qualified for the American Forensic Association – National Individual Event Tournament (AFA-NIET), a very difficult qualification process with only the top 10% of competitors in any event to qualify per district, for the past seven years.

The team has also qualified for and attended the prestigious National Parliamentary Debate Association and National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPDA and NPTE) tournaments – placing in the top 15 in the nation.

Western’s Speech and Debate students are aggressively recruited by top colleges and universities, such as the University of Utah, Arizona State University, San Diego State University, University of California – Long Beach, Northern Arizona University, and Lewis and Clark University.

Information for Those Interested in Competing for WWCC’s Team

Western offers courses (COMM 2080, 2085, and 2060) along with weekly individual and team practice sessions that prepare the team members to compete.

Anyone interested in competing for the WWCC team is encouraged to contact Coach Kristy McManus at (307) 382-1874 or by email, kmcmanus@westernwyoming.edu.