Debate team members defend titles

Sara Stansbury, Madison Davis and Sistina Hammonds.
Photo by Jacob Bray.

Junior Madison Davis defended her national championship debate title earlier this month, bringing home a victory for the second consecutive year. 

Davis usually competes in National Parliamentary Debate Association debate which is a two-on-two format with 15 minutes of preparation and 45 minutes of debate. This year she competed in International Public Debate Association debate that is a one-on-one format with 30 minutes of preparation for 30 minutes of debate.

“I wasn’t sure I would do well at this tournament,” Davis said. “My bracket was full of people I’d never competed against, from schools with really prestigious names and accolades attached to them.”

Pi Kappa Delta forensic honorary sponsored the tournament conducted March 20-24 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. 

This event marked the 51st event that consisted of 71 schools from 27 states and contained a variety of speech and debate events.  

State championship team Sara Stansbury and Sistina Hammonds also made it to the semifinals of Novice NPDA debate, putting them among the top four debate teams in the country. 

“Making it to semifinals was incredible because Sarah and I already knew we were among the best in our region,” Hammonds said. “It was something altogether new to know we are one of the best in the entire nation. Additionally, the teams here were much more challenging than what we are used to seeing.” 

Team members Abby Norsworthy and Amanda Smith brought home individual awards. Norsworthy won an Excellence Award in after dinner speaking and Smith was awarded two Excellence Awards one in impromptu speaking and the other in oral interpretation. 

“There isn’t one particular feeling to describe the awards,” Smith said. “I feel excited and proud for my teammates but also know that there are so many areas where we can improve.  I’m looking forward to going even further as our team grows.” 

The team received national recognition from the tournament with an Excellence Award in Debate Sweepstakes. The team is among the top 30 percent of all debate teams in the nation. 

“I'd attribute the team’s accolades to the students' work ethic and intellectual ability first and foremost. Additionally, Dr. Graham Kash and Professor Jacob Metz have shown extraordinary leadership qualities that have opened up possibilities for the students to compete and be successful,” assistant coach Kevin Bryant said.

The team plans to travel to other events throughout the semester including the American Forensic Association Nationals in Montgomery, Alabama, and the International Public Debate Association National Championship in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Team member Tyler Johnson was invited to travel to Philadelphia on April 26 to compete in the Interstate Oratory Competition after winning the state championship in persuasive speaking in February .