MURFREESBORO — The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Team has represented the university well in recent months, wrapping up fall semester competition last week at Mississippi College.
With finals looming and wintry weather a factor, debate team coach Dr. Patrick Richey and a small group of team members closed out fall competition by traveling to the Deep South Classic in Clinton, Miss., on Dec. 6.
Junior Hailey Lawson was a quarterfinalist with a 5-1 winning record, sophomore Michaela Edwards finished 3-3 and freshman William Griffen also debated well, said Richey, who provided a summary of team results for the semester.
Blue Raider Debate hosted the MTSU Pejaver Memorial and Union University Bulldog Classic Swing tournaments on MTSU’s campus Nov. 1-3. As host, the MTSU team refrained from entering the tournament except as needed to make the brackets work, said Richey, director of forensics at MTSU.
Richey entered students from his Comm 3210 Argumentation course as part of the Experiential Learning (EXL) project. The teams consisted of students who had not debated before and were coached by MTSU debate team members.
The EXL course took first place sweepstakes, although no award was presented since MTSU hosted the tournament, Richey said.
“This is a major accomplishment for not only the students, but also a testament to the importance of the EXL program,” Richey said. “Students gained real-world experience learning to present and argue multiple topics against well-seasoned opponents.”
The tournaments included both National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) and International Public Debate Association (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.
Top results in the November tournament included:
• In NPDA, the team of freshmen Mitchell Brisbon and Elizabeth Bickel were the top seed in preliminary rounds and finished as semifinalists.
• The team of senior Audrey Jamison and junior MarQuella Matthews won second place novice awards.
• In IPDA, class member senior Curtis Campbell advanced to the quarterfinals.
The tournament was won by a hybrid team of Henry Mendoza from Walter State Community College and MTSU sophomore Colonial Geiger.
In early October, the debate team attended the first annual King Classic hosted by Morehouse College in Atlanta.
The team took third place sweepstakes by participating in both team (NPDA) and individual (IPDA) debate formats.
Top results included:
• Freshmen Chris Wysocki and Alvin Loyd were quarterfinalists in NPDA;
• In Varsity IPDA, Hailey Lawson was a quarterfinalist as were Alvin Loyd and Chris Wysocki in the novice division.
• Senior Dale Sikkema was a quarterfinalist in the professional division and was the sixth place speaker.
In late October, the team brought home multiple awards from the Valdosta State University Blazer Classic in Valdosta, Ga. The team earned the third place sweepstakes award for IPDA and third place sweepstakes overall by participating in both debate formats.
Top individual results included:
• The team of freshmen Alex Lempin and Alvin Loyd were quarterfinalists in NPDA with an impressive 4-1 record.
• In novice IPDA, Loyd took second place for the tournament.
• Sophomore Michaela Edwards and freshman Marquwan Fultz were semifinalists with freshman Stephen Duke a quarterfinalist.
• Fultz was named the top speaker of the tournament followed by Duke in third place and Chris Wysocki in sixth place.
The team will start the spring season the first weekend of the semester at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
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.