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WNCC Speech and Debate Team Finishes 2nd in the Nation

April 28, 2017

After five days of national-caliber competition, the Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) Speech and Debate Team earned a second place finish in Community College Team Sweepstakes at the 2017 National Forensics Association National Tournament. 

The national tournament, held April 13-17 on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, drew 77 colleges and universities overall from across the United States. Approximately 500 competitors represented their respective schools at the tournament, which eventually crowned national champions in 10 different public speaking events, in addition to the national champion in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Four students qualified and represented WNCC at the tournament. Molly Tamirat, a freshman from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sebastian Escudero, a freshman from Misiones, Argentina, Isaac Sam, a freshman from Dansoman, Ghana, and Ethan Sheffield, a freshman from Casper, Wyoming each advanced through three rounds of competition. Their cumulative standings were enough for the runner-up team placing in the Community College Division.

The team was accompanied by forensic co-coaches Kenny Hopkinson and Bill Sheffield, both speech instructors at WNCC.

The 2016-17 season was the first for the program after five years on hiatus.

"It is impressive for such a young team to achieve this kind of recognition," said Hopkinson. "We are quite proud of their work and ready to start working toward continued success for the next competitive season."

For more information about the team, or for high school students looking to continue their involvement in competitive speech, email the coaches at The team provides potential scholarship opportunities for students who become a part of the WNCC Speech and Debate Team.