The University of Nebraska-Lincoln speech and debate team became five-time champions of the Big Ten with its victory at the Conference Challenge Tournament held Feb. 20-21 at Northwestern University.
The UNL team captured nine of the 11 individual Big Ten tournament titles and scored a two-day total of 182.5 points. Northwestern finished in second place with 75 points.
Sophomores Erin Sheehan and Mattison Merritt, both of Omaha, led the UNL team at the tournament.
Sheehan won individual titles in persuasive speaking, extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking. Merritt captured top honors in dramatic interpretation, program oral interpretation and duo interpretation, along with her partner, Jonathan Baker, a junior from Hickman.
Sophomore Ryan Eichenauer of Blaine, Minn., and junior Linsey Armstrong of Scribner won informative speaking and communication analysis, respectively.
“I am extremely proud of our students’ performance,” said Aaron Duncan, director of the speech and debate program and assistant professor of practice in communication studies. “This victory is representative of the hard work these students have put in since they began preparing in June.”
The students of the both the speech and debate teams have been competing since September and are preparing for national tournaments, which are in April at the University of Florida and Ball State University.