Back-to-back National Champs

Bradley's Speech Team individual sweepstakes winners. Back row from left to right: Junior Ocasio, Kaybee Brown, Jacoby Cochran. Front row left to right: Cecil Blutcher, Brooke Stevenson, Ryan Tinlin.

By Frank Radosevich II
April 23, 2013

The University Speech Team captured their fourth consecutive tournament title this week after winning the National Forensic Association competition in Huntington, W.Va., with Bradley students again sweeping the top five individual spots.

This is the second consecutive year the team has won both national championships and the win marks Bradley’s 41st national speech championship title since 1978. Cinching four national championships in a row is indicative of the team’s strong work ethnic, unrivaled reputation and winning legacy.

“To win one tournament is an amazing accomplishment. To win both is a real testament to the students’ hard work,” said Ken Young ’05, director of forensics. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team and their efforts this year.”

Following Bradley’s 771.5 points was Western Kentucky University with 681 points for second place and at third-place the University of Texas at Austin, with 335 points. Bradley's winning record and the secret to its success were also the topic of an NPR story this month.

Bradley also captured the top five individual sweepstakes awards, given to individuals who garner the most points after competing in at least four events. Kaybee Brown, a junior studying theatre arts, was crowned the individual sweepstakes champion.

“We do well as a team because we want to win and because we believe in our message,” Brown said. “We take the time to do it right.”

Along with Brown, five other Bradley students ranked in the individual sweepstakes. They are Brooke Stevenson, senior, second place, who also was individual champion in prose and after-dinner speaking; Jacoby Cochran, senior, third place, who also was individual champion in rhetorical criticism and persuasion; Ryan Tinlin, senior, fourth place, who also was individual champion in informative; and Cecil Blutcher, senior, fifth place.

Also ranking from Bradley in the individual sweepstakes was Junior Ocasio, senior, 13th place.

Graduating in May, Cochran said the alumni support the team received helped them through their hours of training and performing. Thanks to their encouragement, he knows Bradley’s speech team will be in good hands for years to come.

“I just finished my last national tournament but I’ll be back on that bus again,” he said. “Maybe not as a competitor but I’ll be supporting my team.”

Brown, from Lake Elsinore, Calif., said the team’s seniors played an integral part in welcoming and preparing new members. He said working with his fellow teammates as well as his theatre courses have refined his delivery at the tournaments.

“A lot of the lessons we learn in classes end up going into the discussions for our presentations,” he said.