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Barclay earns first place in Persuasive Speaking at international speech and debate tournament

Marshall University senior Hunter Barclay placed first in the Persuasive Speaking segment of the International Forensics Association speech and debate tournament March 11-12 in Berlin, Germany. He also earned fourth place in Impromptu Speaking. The competition included about 150 contestants from throughout the world.

Barclay, who serves as president of the Student Government Association at Marshall, is an international affairs major with a pre-med concentration, who came to Marshall from Frostburg, Maryland. He is the son of Bryan Barclay and Autumn Frazee.

“It was an honor to represent Marshall University on the world stage,” Barclay said. “Marshall is a world-class university with endless potential, and I am glad that I could demonstrate Marshall’s excellence to educators and students from around the world. Though I was nervous going into the competition, I reminded myself that whether I give a speech in West Virginia or abroad, the purpose of my speech remains constant: advocating for issues that warrant discussion and will improve society.”

It was an unforgettable experience and a chance to create stronger bonds with teammates and coaches, whom he described as some of his dearest mentors and friends, he said.

“When I was a freshman, my head coach, Danny Ray, passed away unexpectedly. His death devastated our team, and we have spent the past few years rebuilding our team,” Barclay said. “Throughout this process, my head coaches — Clara Adkins and Nancy Jackson — provided the team with the leadership and compassion that we needed. They have brought in superb graduate assistants — Sydney Metz, Quinn McKenzie and Julia Hren — who have provided additional coaching and guidance.

Clara, Nancy, and the graduate assistant coaches set high standards for the team, but they also provide us with the encouragement to know that we can win championships if we work diligently as a team.”

He’s extremely grateful for the support his team has shown.

“Whenever I learned that I had won the world championship in Persuasive Speaking, my teammates and coaches roared with excitement and pride,” Barclay recalled. “Hearing their loud cheers and applause reminded me of how blessed I am to be part of a team that is incredibly supportive of one another.”

Competing in Berlin was a phenomenal experience, Barclay said.


Photo: Hunter Barclay (front) celebrated his victory in Persuasive Speaking in the International Forensics Association speech and debate tournament with teammates Sara Browning (2nd row, left), Paige Looney (2nd row, right), Tanner Wooten (3rd row, left) and Dominic Collins (3rd row, right).