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UC’s Speech and Debate team wins first place

Williamsburg, Ky. – The University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) Speech and Debate team won first place at the Bluegrass Invitational at the University of Kentucky (UK), on Oct. 11, and have more opportunities to win at national tournaments.

UK hosted 15 teams at the Bluegrass Invitational. Matthew Kelley and Caleb Stoffle were individual finalists, with Stoffle finishing third overall. Sydney Freeman was a semi-finalist while Grant Klinksiek and Slade Klinksiek finished as quarterfinalists. Twelve of the 17 members traveled to Lexington for the event.

“We practice by using past questions in a debate scenario,” said Alisha Brown, UC debate team member who placed in the top 10 at the Bluegrass Invitational. “We are asked questions from various spectrums so it’s a broad amount of knowledge and information we have to cover. I really enjoy it though.”

Jay Bourne, head of the Speech and Debate team, emphasizes that a well-rounded knowledge of current events and general information is key to being a successful debater in competition. Bourne has been at UC for nine years and is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts. “We prepare briefs on topics that we think could be used in competition,” Bourne said.

This intercollegiate team competes in two types of debate: Parliamentary, which are two person teams against each other and International Public Debate Form, which is a one-on-one debate style. The team competes in a state competition in February and two national tournaments, the National Christian College Forensics Association and the Pi Kappa Delta National tournament. UC’s team will travel to Riverside Calif. for the National Christian College debate.

In past years, the Debate team has won numerous awards such as: First place debate team and overall debate sweeps champions at the Collegiate Forensics Association winter tournament in Montreal, Canada (January 2006); National Champions in Division Three at the National Christian College Forensics Association tournament in Los Angeles, California (March 2005); National Champions in Duo Interpretation, National Runner Up in Lincoln Douglas Debate, and 10 other awards at Pi Kappa Delta Nationals in St. Louis (March 2005).

The 2013 Debate team members who competed at UK are: Matthew Kelley, Caleb Stoffle, Alisha Brown, Katherine Detherage, Hanna Wright, Brian Johnson, Jenette Mitchell, Joel Houston, Robert Jones, Sydney Freeman, Grant Klinksiek, and Slade Klinksiek.

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; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information, visit

Article provided by Lydia Huggins and Amanda Kelly, Multimedia and Athletic Services Department Student Assistants