The MTSU Blue Raider Debaters have backed up their strong fall with an impressive spring season thus far, including winning a regional championship earlier this semester.
The team competed in tournaments that included both National Parliamentary Debate Association and International Public Debate Association debate formats.
In NPDA competition, two-person teams debate head-to-head in multiple rounds, with a new topic presented each round. In IPDA formats, debaters primarily go one-on-one, with various time limits in effect for both formats.
Here’s a recap of their success, according to debate team coach Dr. Patrick Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.
• The team traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the University of Tennessee Volunteer Classic during the last weekend of January.
In NPDA parliamentary debate, two out of three teams made it to the out rounds. Freshman Abbey Barnes and junior Kiera Jackson won the novice division of NPDA debate and brought home third and fourth place speaker awards respectively.
In individual IPDA debate, freshman Samantha Abbott was a quarterfinalist in the novice division, freshman Abby Howard was a finalist in the novice division, and junior Michaela Edwards was a finalist in the varsity division. Junior Stephen Duke took home a third place speaker award in the pro division and senior Hailey Lawson was the first place speaker in the varsity division.
The team as a whole won second place sweepstakes in NPDA, missing first place by only two points; won first place sweepstakes in IPDA; and took home the first-place overall sweepstakes award, winning the tournament.
• The next weekend, the team traveled to Sevierville, Tennessee, for the Southeast Regional Championships at Walters State Community College.
Once again, Abbey Barnes and Kiera Jackson made it to finals in the novice division of NPDA and were second place in the novice division. Every novice debater — Abbott, Howard, Barnes and Leigh Stanfield — from MTSU broke into octofinals in IPDA. Junior Stanfield fought all the way to finals in the novice division and won second place as well as a fourth-place speaker award.
The team took away second place in IPDA sweepstakes and once again took first place in overall sweepstakes, making the Blue Raider Debate Team the Southeast Regional Champions.
Richey received the Malcolm McAvoy Award for coaching excellence in the southeast region.
• After dominating the regionals, the team moved on to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association for the state tournament at Tennessee State University in Nashville. The MTSU debaters placed in both NPDA and IPDA and placed in several different individual forensics events.
Sophomore Mitchell Brisbon and his sister Liana Brisbon won finals in novice NPDA. Barnes and Lawson placed in quarterfinals in IPDA novice and varsity divisions. Stanfield took semifinals in IPDA. Barnes received a third-place speaking award, and Stanfield was awarded fifth.
The team took third place IPDA sweepstakes. In individual events, Barnes placed sixth in both Dramatic Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation. Freshman Jason Watkins placed sixth in Radio Broadcasting.
The team’s combined effort has made it among the top teams in the nation. As it stands, the Blue Raider Debate Team is fifth in the nation in the novice division and 11th in the nation in the varsity division, Richey said.
Novices Howard and Stanfield are fourth and fifth in the nation “and hot on the heels of individuals ranked above them,” Richey noted.
MTSU’s debate team, founded with the university in 1911, was revamped in 2011. It immediately began recruiting members and hosting special debate events on campus. In October 2012, the team hosted its first tournament on campus in nearly a decade and now participates in debates throughout the region.
For more information about MTSU Blue Raider Debate, contact Richey at 615-898-2273 or email him at Patrick.Richey@mtsu.edu. You can also visit www.mtsu.edu/debate/index.php.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)