maincurve UC Library MyUC iLearn Webmail Home
title Media Relations Home



Cumberlands' speech and debate team wins state tournament


Cumberlands' speech and debate team shows off the awards won at the state tournament. From the back, left to right: Tim Riley, Chris Felder, Danny Lunsford, Andy Wolfe, Joe Owens, Laura Bradford, Taylor Bowman, Jamie Gregory, Ellie Rink, Sara Straub and Ashley Renee Honnold. Not pictured: Candida Hall, Justin Lowe and Kelly Mason.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – For the sixth consecutive year, the University of the Cumberlands speech and debate team took top honors in individual events, winning first place overall in the small school division at the Kentucky Forensics Association State Tournament held February 16-17 at Berea College. Fourteen members of the Cumberlands team received thirty-seven awards overall, which is a new squad record in team competition. The team also placed second in the Grand Champion Sweepstakes (combined individual events and debate point totals) after national champions Western Kentucky University.

"This is the result of a lot of hard work for the team this year," said Coach Jay Bourne. "It's great that we have broken our squad record for number of awards two years in a row at the state tournament. Hopefully, this indicates that we are on the right track for nationals in a few weeks."

Senior Sara Straub, of Florence, Ky., was also named the recipient of the Harlan Hamm Student Award for 2007, an honor given to only two students in the state each year based on competitive performance, team dedication and academic excellence.

The debate team received eleven awards overall, with half of the debate teams reaching quarterfinals. The teams of senior Justin Lowe and Danny Lunsford, from Harlan, Ky., Jamie Gregory, from Elkhart, Ind., and Tim Riley, from Georgetown, Ky., all reached the quarterfinal rounds before losing to Western Kentucky University teams. Additionally, the team of freshmen Chris Felder, of Detroit, Mich., and Taylor Bowman, of Escondido, Calif., were named the top novice team at the tournament. Finally, speaker awards were given to Taylor Bowman, Tim Riley and Justin Lowe. Cumberlands placed second in debate sweepstakes.

Coach Jay Bourne commented, "I was really pleased with the performance of our debate team. Every team won at least half of their preliminary rounds, and our top three teams only lost one round in prelims to any team other than Western Kentucky University, which has three of the top five teams in the nation."

In individual events, the team received twenty-five awards. Junior Joe Owens from Hindman, Ky., placed second in pentathlon (overall individual competition), state runner up in dramatic interpretation, after dinner speaking and program oral interpretation, and placed sixth in duo interpretation. Ashley Renee Honnold, senior from Williamsburg, Ky., placed third in pentathlon and dramatic interpretation, fourth in communication analysis, duo interpretation and after dinner speaking, and fifth in duo and program oral interpretation. Jamie Gregory placed fourth in pentathlon and duo interpretation, fifth in persuasive speaking, and sixth in dramatic interpretation and duo. Laura Bradford, freshman from Michigan placed fifth in duo, was top novice in duo, and received top novice in poetry interpretation. Junior Ellie Rink was also top novice in duo interpretation. Chris Felder placed fourth in program oral interpretation. Candida Hall and Kelly Mason also contributed to team sweepstakes points.

University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 118th year of operation. Cumberlands offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and nine pre-professional programs, graduate degrees and certifications in education as well as online and accelerated, nontraditional programs for adults.