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Cumberlands’ Debate Team Wins International Tournament in Montreal


Williamsburg, Ky. - University of the Cumberlands’ Speech and Debate team won the 26th Annual Collegiate Forensics Association debate tournament on January 27 –28 in Montreal, Canada. The team was first overall in debate sweepstakes points against a field of over 20 colleges and universities from 10 states. Cumberlands placed above several teams including University of Louisiana, Southeastern Oklahoma, Randolph Macon College, Bowling Green State University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Junior Sara Straub, from Florence, Ky., and senior Aprile Keith from London, Ky., received debate champion awards as the top individual team at the tournament. Straub and Keith won the final round against the top team from Southeastern Oklahoma debating for the issue of increased higher education opportunities for students.

Of the eight teams to reach quarterfinals, University of the Cumberlands comprised half of the field, with four of its five teams advancing. No other college or university had more than one team advance to elimination rounds.

The team of freshman Tim Riley, from Georgetown, Ky., and sophomore Kelly Mason, from Florence, Ky., received quarterfinalist awards, and fell to the top team of Randolph Macon College.

The team of Andy Wolfe, a freshman from Escondido, Calif., and Justin Lowe, a junior from Louisville, Ky., were seeded to debate against another Cumberlands’ team of freshman Danny Lunsford, from Harlan, Ky., and freshman Jamie Gregory, from Elkhart, Ind. Instead of debating, coach Jay Bourne had the team with the best record advance, which was Wolfe and Lowe.

In semifinals, the team of Wolfe and Lowe failed to reach finals on a coach’s decision again, as they were seeded to debate against fellow teammates and overall champions Straub and Keith. Additionally, Wolfe received a fourth place award in the category of best speaker at the tournament.

In individual events, Joe Owens, a sophomore from Hindman, Ky., placed fifth in dramatic interpretation. Jamie Gregory and Kacie Shantz, a sophomore from Stafford, Va., placed sixth in dramatic duo interpretation. Sophomore Jennifer Underdown, from Athens, Tenn., and senior Todd Petzold, from Owensboro, Ky., also contributed to the team’s sweepstakes points.

When combining individual events and debate points, University of the Cumberlands placed sixth, wining sixteen awards.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 117th year of operation. UC offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and 9 pre-professional programs, as well as online and accelerated, non-traditional programs for adults.