Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 29, 2008) - The John Brown University speech and debate team finished strong this past weekend at the Mardi Gras Classic Speech Tournament at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The JBU team took second overall out of twenty-one schools from Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia. “Quite frankly I was shocked,” said Coach Jason Hough. “Due to budget considerations, we only took half of the team to the tournament. The students that competed did a stellar job.” In individual debate, sophomore Cecelia Wells led the team with a semi-finals berth in novice individual debate. Teammate freshman Amber Wilson secured a quarter-final berth, and freshman Brenna Welch secured an octa-final finish. In team debate, partners and seniors Brad Webber and Jamie Stallings, partners and juniors Jenny Felts and J.D. Hengemuhle, and partners senior Aaron Brenner and sophomore Rissa Murphy secured multiple wins, with Webber receiving 6th best speaker overall. In individual speaking events, Murphy led the way with a 3rd place in Dramatic Duo with partner Hengemuhle, 4th place in Communication Analysis, and 6th place in Prose Interpretation, and 6th place in Program of Oral Interpretation. Webber had a 1st place finish in Communication Analysis, 7th place finish in Dramatic Duo with partner Stallings, and was a semi-finalist in Impromptu Speaking. Wilson secured a 1st place finish in Program of Oral Interpretation, with Wells finishing 5th in the same event. Welch received 6th place in Poetry Interpretation. The team will next compete at the Border Wars tournament held on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas February 1-3.