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Cumberlands’ Speech and Debate Team Breaks Records


Andy Wolfe and Tim Riley, national champions in parliamentary debate.

Williamsburg, Ky. - Eleven members of Cumberlands Speech and Debate Team competed at the 2006 National Christian College Forensics Association Tournament held on March 18-20 at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark. Cumberlands’ squad received twenty awards, the school’s most ever at a national tournament, and had three national champions, another team record. Nearly twenty schools from over fourteen states participated in the competition.

In debate, Cumberlands’ freshman team of Tim Riley, from Georgetown, Ky., and Andy Wolfe, from Escondido, Calif., won the national championship in novice parliamentary debate to become the first national debate team champions in the school’s history.


Joe Owens, national champion in program oral interpretation.

Coach Jay Bourne said, "I am extremely excited for our freshman debate team. They beat the number one, two and three seed teams to win the championship. In fact, the team that they faced in finals and defeated based on a unanimous judge's decision (William Carey College) had not lost a round the entire tournament."

Additionally, Tim Riley received an award for third place debate speaker and Andy Wolfe was named sixth place debate speaker.

Cumberlands’ squad received second place sweepstakes in the small school division of debate. The team was fourth in the nation in overall parliamentary debate points and ahead of schools including Northwest Nazarene, Howard Payne University, Vanguard University, Malone and several others.

Contributors to overall debate sweeps points included the freshman team of Danny Lunsford from Harlan, Ky., and Jamie Gregory, from Elkhart, Indiana, and the varsity team of Sara Straub of Florence, Ky., and Aprile Keith from London, Ky.

In individual events, the team won fifteen individual awards. Joe Owens, a sophomore from Hindman, Ky., won national champion in program oral interpretation, placed fourth in after dinner speaking, and took seventh in overall individual sweeps.

Several members of the team also won awards in novice categories, which are for students in their first year of college competition. Jamie Gregory was national runner up in program oral interpretation, placed fourth in after dinner speaking and placed fifth in poetry and in individual sweeps. Jennifer Underdown, a sophomore from Athens, Tenn., was fifth in the nation in program oral interpretation and sixth in prose and persuasion. Tim Riley placed fourth in informative speaking, sixth in impromptu speaking and eighth in individual sweeps. Andy Wolfe placed third in persuasive speaking.

Sophomores Kelly Mason of Florence, Ky., and Aaron Leftwich from Clearwater, Fla., contributed to the individual event sweepstakes.

"For mainly our freshmen and sophomores this year, to do as well as we have is amazing,” said Bourne. “We have had our first national champions in debate, a team record of three national champions, and the highest team debate ranking in our history. Additionally, we now have a new team record with trophies received throughout the year—one hundred and twenty four. We can now look forward to bigger and better things next year."

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 117th year of operation. Cumberlands 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.