Marian University Speech and Debate places second at national tournament

by Julia Kelb | Apr 18, 2019

Speech and Debate TeamMarian University Speech and Debate completed its season with a national runner-up finish at the 2019 Pi Kappa Delta Biennial National Convention and Tournament hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Marian University placed second among more than 70 programs across the United States. Eighteen team members traveled to the tournament, bringing with them 94 entries.

Individual national champions included Emily Pingel ’21, Jess Ryan ’19, Ruthann Gorrell ’19, Maresa Kelly ’19, and TJ O’Neil ’19. A full list of results are listed on the team’s Facebook page.

“I knew we had a chance to do something special at the end of the year,” Kyle Kellam, Ph.D., director of forensics and associate professor of communication, said. “Our team finish means a lot to me because it represents the efforts of the whole team, which we’ve always been focused on.”

Three students were selected to present their speeches as examples in educational showcases for the entire tournament. A discussion was facilitated between the speaker and the audience about their speech. The students chosen were Gorrell, O’Neil, and first-year team member Carol Obergfell.

Pi Kappa Delta also recognized 10 outstanding students in the nation who, throughout their four years of speech and debate, demonstrated excellence in academics, competition, community service, and advocacy. This year, Gorrell was honored as one of the distinguished All-American recipients.

After returning from the tournament, trophies in hand, Marian University Speech and Debate hosted the first-ever Indiana Catholic Speech Championships just a couple of weeks later. The tournament, which took place on April 13, is a uniquely Catholic state championship for Catholic high schools that participate in speech and debate.

To learn more about the Marian University Speech and Debate team, contact Dr. Kyle at or 317.955.6048.

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