Debate TeamThe Belmont Abbey Debate Team returned from Louisiana State University at Shreveport yesterday after competing at the 2019 IPDA National Championship Tournament. Belmont Abbey College advanced three of six team members to elimination rounds, with a fourth student being recognized within the top quartile of speakers.

In team debate, our novice students challenged themselves in varsity-level competition. The teams of Anastasjiah McGriff/ Isabelle Robertson and Bryanna Farmer/ Zachary Soder each won at least one of their five preliminary rounds, with Bryanna and Zach placing one ballot away from advancing to elimination rounds at the team varsity level. Another first year debater, Timothy Gosnell, competed in the newly-introduced “mentor” division with Belmont Abbey Debate alumnus Mary Rose Stepnowski. While wins and losses are not recorded for this instruction-oriented debate, the modified ballots included abundant positive comments for one of our newest debaters.

In individual debate, six students competed in varsity and novice divisions. In varsity, junior Adrianna Hodges won two ballots in the top student division of approximately 63 competitors, with several additional rounds noting close decisions and high speaker point rankings.

Another five students competed in a pool of approximately 122 novice debaters. Timothy Gosnell concluded his first year winning three ballots, and concluding his season with a strong foundation for the second half of his novice eligibility next year. Isabelle Robertson won half of eight ballots, placing her just one ballot away from advancing to elimination rounds. Isabelle has spent substantial time working on speaking and cross-examination skills this year; her results were evident as she was ranked in the top 25 speakers of 122 novice competitors.

Bryanna Farmer, Anastasjiah McGriff, and Zachary Soder each won five of eight preliminary rounds, advancing to partial triple-octofinals. Bryanna concluded her first national tournament as a triple-octofinalist and was seeded in the top third of debaters in her division. Anastasjiah McGriff advanced to double-octofinals, concluding in the top 32 competitors on a 2-1 decision against Abilene Christian University. Finally, Zachary Soder advanced through the first two elimination rounds before concluding his first National Tournament as a top 16 competitor on a 2-1 decision against Abilene Christian University. Zachary was also ranked in the top 20 for overall speaker points within preliminary rounds.

The IPDA National Championship Tournament showcased a fairly young team that has collectively developed and grown over this academic year. While this concludes our 2018-2019 season, we are excited to continue to work with this group of students as they continue in their college careers.