MTSU debate team makes early case for strong 2014-...

MTSU debate team makes early case for strong 2014-15

MTSU’s nationally competitive debate team continues its winning ways with a strong start to the 2014-15 season.

After hosting the International Public Debate Association’s National Tournament and Convention this past April, the team spent the summer recuperating and working with incoming freshmen and new debaters, according to Dr. Patrick Richey, MTSU debate team coach and director of forensics at MTSU.

Dr. Patrick Richey

Dr. Patrick Richey

The team began the season in late September at the University of Northern Georgia’s annual Chicken and Egg tournament, which included both National Parliamentary Debate Association, or NPDA, and International Public Debate Association, or IPDA, 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.

The MTSU team took fourth place overall at the UNG tournament and fourth in IPDA and NPDA debate formats respectively.

The teams made up of Leigh Stanfield, a junior liberal arts major, and Cody Lester, a senior liberal arts major, and Abby Howard, a freshman liberal arts major, and Eric Settle, a sophomore studying behavioral and health sciences, advanced to partial octofinals in NPDA. Settle advanced to semifinals in novice IPDA debate.

Click the image to visit the MTSU Debate web page.

Click the image to visit the MTSU Debate web page.

The team won 12 speaker awards with Leigh Stanfield leading the way with a second place debut speaker award. The team had four days rest before hitting the road again, this time to compete at Walter State Community College’s Smoky Mountain debate tournament held in Morristown, Tennessee.

The team won first place overall “by a significant lead” at Walter State, Richey said, while the team of Abby Howard and Eric Settle advanced to quarterfinals.

The teams of Steven Saksa, a freshman basic and applied sciences major, and Kellye Guinan, a sophomore liberal arts major, and Alvin Loyd, a sophomore liberal arts major, and Alex Lempin, a sophomore basic and applied sciences major, advanced to the semifinals. The team won four speaking awards led by Abby Howard’s third place honor.

The team next travels to Tennessee State University, Valdosta State University and Belmont University.

Founded with the university in 1911, the MTSU Blue Raider Debate team was revamped in 2011. 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, visit MTSU Debate’s web page at or contact Richey at

— Jimmy Hart (

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