Speech and Debate Team members win individual honors in back-to-back tournaments

Student Achievements

Jayme Blaschke | March 30, 2021

Three members of the Texas State University speech and debate team captured individual honors during the International Forensics Association (IFA) tournament, March 5-14, and the Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) National Comprehensive Tournament, March 18-21.

Both tournaments were held virtually.

Abby Robertson won first place in poetry interpretation and Joseph Bahr won first place in impromptu speaking at IFA. Robertson also took fifth place in after dinner speaking and Bahr took sixth in extemporaneous speaking.                        

At PKD, Bahr won the Excellence Award in Impromptu Speaking and the Excellence Award in Persuasion as well as placing second in extemporaneous speaking. Ashlyn Ellgass won the Excellence Award in Impromptu Speaking.

Texas State finished fourth overall in the IFA sweepstakes out of 30 teams participating. Other Texas State students placing included Johnny Vasallo and Noemi Rivera, sixth place in duo dramatic interpretation; Hector Manriquez and Ashton Rios, fourth duo dramatic interpretation; Johnny Vasallo, seventh place poetry interpretation; and Ashton Rios, semifinalist prose interpretation.

Texas State finished eighth overall in combined debate and individual events sweepstakes, and fourth in the individual events sweepstakes out of 79 schools participating. Other Texas State students placing included Robertson, quarterfinalist after dinner speaking, sixth place poetry interpretation, fourth place prose interpretation; Manriquez, quarterfinalist after dinner speaking, third place dramatic interpretation; Vasallo, semifinalist dramatic interpretation, quarterfinalist poetry interpretation, quarterfinalist program oral interpretation, quarterfinalist prose interpretation; Manriquez and Rios, sixth place duo dramatic interpretation; Vasallo and Robertson, fourth place duo dramatic interpretation; Rios, semifinalist program oral interpretation; Jacob Everett, octafinalist Lincoln Douglas debate; Hannah Nunley, sixth speaker Lincoln Douglas debate; Christian Cisneros, semifinalist individual parliamentary debate;

Pi Kappa Delta, founded in 1911, is the oldest national collegiate forensic (speech and debate) organization in the United States. The honor society consists of speech and debate educators, students and alumni from across the country. Texas State received its charter in 1934 with university distinguished alumni R.H. Bing, J. Edwin Smith and York Wilbern, as well as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s debate coach, H.M. Greene, among the charter members.

Texas State’s team consists of the LBJ Debate Society, named for President Johnson, who debated as an undergraduate; and the Elton Abernathy Forensics Society, named for the long-time communication studies chair.

For more information, contact Wayne Kraemer in the Department of Communication Studies at wk02@txstate.edu.

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The TXST Speech & Debate team has won TWO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES: One from Pi Kappa Delta (PKD) and another from The National Forensics Association. Plus these other victories:

  • The team placed 4th at the International Forensics Association Tournament in March of 2021. Abby Robertson placed 1st in Poetry Interpretation and Joseph Bahr place 1st in Impromptu Speaking.
  • In 2021, TXST finished 19th at the American Forensics Association's National Speech Tournament. 
  • TXST also placed 4th in Individual Events Sweepstakes and 8th overall at the 2021 PKD tournament.
  • In spring 2021, TXST placed 3rd in the President II Division and 19th Overall at the National Forensics Association National Tournament.

DID YOU KNOW: President Lyndon Baines Johnson (top row, far right), the 36th president of the United States and Texas State’s most famous alumnus, was a member of the 1928 debate team at what was then called Southwest Texas State Teachers College. Johnson made his mark during his freshman year when he and senior Elmer Graham (top row, center) defeated the nationally-ranked Sam Houston State Teachers College, debate team.

debate team members

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922