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Forensics & Debate Team Represents UC Well at National Competitions


UC Forensics & Debate team represented UC well at several national competitions held on the west coast recently.

Williamsburg, Ky. - As a college student, you usually look at Spring Break as a week to get away from everything school related, kick back, relax, and get that much needed rest before you jump head-on into finals week. For a select group of University of the Cumberlands (UC) students, they took that time to compete in numerous competitions over a two week span. This trip though was special for many as the team traveled across the country to compete on the west coast, showing the other half of the country what University of the Cumberlands is all about.

The Forensics and Debate team began their journey at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, California at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational.

At this competition, four team members placed in the Novice division, representing their first year of competing. Lauren Bradley (Elizabethton, TN) earned 5th place in Communication Analysis while Garrett Harrison (Malabar, FL) finished in 6th place in the same category. Lauren Bradley also earned 8th place as a Novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) speaker. Garrett Harrison was recognized as a top 20 NPDA speaker. Team members Jeremy Brading (Brownsburg, IN) and Matt Smith (Cumming, GA) were quarter finalists in the NPDA parliamentary debate.

After competing for several days, the team was able to visit several landmarks in the Los Angeles area, including Laguna Beach, Santa Monica Pier, and Hollywood. The team also found and spoke to the musician Eddie Van Halen at his home before driving up west coast to the Pi Kappa Delta Nationals in Oregon. Along the way, the members took in delicious food and were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In Seattle, the team visited the Space Needle, the first and original Starbucks, and the famous fish throwing vendors at the Seattle Marketplace.

After touring Seattle, the team competed at the Pi Kappa Delta National Convention and Tournament, which took place in Gresham, Oregon just outside of Portland.

In the Novice Division, team member Lauren Bradley received an “Excellent Award” for her performance in IPDA (Individual Public Debate Association.) Matt Smith received special distinction for his performance in preliminary rounds of IPDA. Members Lauren Bradley and Garrett Harrison received the “Superior Award” in NPDA as they reached the semifinals.

In the Junior Division (2nd year of competition), Jacob Carpenter (Williamsburg, KY) and Matt Smith received special distinction for their performance in preliminary rounds. In the Senior Division (3 years or more in competition), Seth Stoffle (Seymour, TN) received the “Superior Award” and reached semifinals in IPDA. Jacob Carpenter received special distinction for performance in preliminary rounds of the IPDA. Members Lauren Kachel (Pickerington, OH) and Seth Stoffle received special distinction for their performance in preliminary rounds of the NPDA.

Three separate teams made it to the quarterfinals in the CEDA competition, the team of Justin Durbin (Somerset, KY) and Seth Stoffle (finished 3rd in CEDA), the team of Jacob Carpenter and Garrett Harrison, and the team of Lauren Bradley and Lauren Kachel.

As a group, UC was the only team in the nation to place in the top 10 overall in 3 different forms of debate. The team earned 8th place in IPDA competition, 9th place in NPDA competition, and 2nd place in CEDA competition. The team also received an “Excellent Award” overall, making it the third straight convention year that the Pi Kappa Delta team received an “Excellent” or “Superior” overall distinction.

UC finished 11th overall at Pi Kappa Delta Nationals. The team received nineteen awards at nationals this year, the highest amount of awards won at nationals for UC in the last 10 years.

"I am extremely pleased with our results at nationals,” said UC faculty advisor Jay Bourne. “This is the third straight time that we have received an excellent or higher in the overall debate sweepstakes at a Pi Kappa Delta convention tournament. I think that we are one of only three schools that have accomplished that feat over the past six years. Cumberlands has had a team place in the semifinals or higher for nearly ten years. Finally, this year we were the only school out of over 85 to place in the top ten in three different types of debate. We have had a young team this year with only two team members with more than two years experience, but we were able to do our best when it counted most. I look forward to next year when we can build on this year's results and hopefully add to the fourteen individual national champions our school had produced over the past eight years."