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UC Debate Team Continues Successful Fall Season


The team photo was taken at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland- where the battle that was the inspiration for the Star Spangled Banner was fought. From left to right: Justin Durbin, Lauren Kachel, Eric Sheldon, Seth Stoffle, Caleb Stoffle, and Genia Vickers.

Williamsburg, Ky. - The University of the Cumberlands (UC) debate team had two very successful debates recently at the 16th Annual Morgan State University Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland November on November 11-12 and at the Bulldog Invitational debate tournament held in Jackson, Tennessee November 18-19. At the parliamentary debate sweeps in Maryland the team placed first overall and won several awards at invitational in Tennessee.

“I was pleased with our debate team overall,” says Coach Jay Bourne. “We received a lot of awards and showed that we could compete with anyone.”

At the Morgan State University Tournament, the team, competing against sixteen other colleges from eight states, had five of the top ten speakers in debate. Caleb Stoffle (Seymour, TN) received 6th Place Debate speaker, and Genia Vickers (McKee, KY) received 5th Place Debate speaker.

Additionally, the team of Seth Stoffle (Seymour, TN) and Lauren Kachel (Pickerington, OH) placed third overall with a record of five wins and no losses. The other two teams, Caleb Stoffle and Vickers, and Justin Durbin (Somerset, KY) and Eric Sheldon (Kenton, OH) both placed in the top half of the competition.

“We were fortunate to be able to stop in Washington D.C. during our trip,” exclaimed Co-Team Captain Justin Durbin. “We felt proud to view the Star Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian Museum, and humbled to observe the changing of the guard at Arlington cemetery. Being able to experience those events makes us realize the importance of our school’s symbol the Patriot.”

At the Bulldog Invitational in Tennessee, the team was up against a field of twelve other colleges and universities from six states. Coach Bourne was a quarterfinalist and the 5th place speaker in the professional division (for coaches, graduate assistants, and alumni). Seth Stoffle received a quarterfinalist award, and novice Genia Vickers and Caleb Stoffle both advanced to the octafinal round of competition. Justin Durbin was next advancing to outrounds, and Mathew Kelly (Corbin, KY) also finished solid, winning nearly half of his debates. This was the first competition for the team in the IPDA format, known as the International Parliamentary Debate Association.

“I was pleased that two thirds of our team was able to advance to outrounds,” said Co-Team Captain Seth Stoffle. “Our awards are a result of the hard work our team has put into the season so far. We are pleased to represent the university well this weekend, and look forward to the rest of the year.”

The next competition for the speech and debate team will be at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.