UAM debaters are national champions
By winning the season-long varsity debate national championship presented by the International Public Debate Association, the debate team at the University of Arkansas at Monticello has completed the 2016- 17 season in style.
UAM finished no lower than second place in five categories based on the competitive results of IPDA debate tournaments throughout the academic year. In addition to the varsity division national title, UAM placed second in team debate, second in junior varsity debate, won the second place Scholastic Award and brought home the second-place Founders Award.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment by our debate program and I am so proud of the efforts of our students and their coaches,” UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes said. “The ability to communicate through the spoken word will open so many doors for these students as they move forward. My congratulations to them all.”
UAM placed third in the Team Debate Sweepstakes at the IPDA National Tournament hosted by Arkansas Tech University, took fourth in the Founders Sweepstakes and fourth in the Tournament Sweepstakes.
In addition to team season- long honors, UAM’s Reagan Dobbs, a senior from Dayton, Texas, was named the national champion team debate speaker and the national champion varsity speaker. Dobbs finished third overall in team debate and fourth in varsity debate.
Other individual honors went to Cody Bijou, a senior from Crosby, Texas, who finished second nationally in varsity debate, third in team debate, was the fourth-place team debate speaker and the fifth-place varsity debate speaker.
Blake Adkins of Vilonia was ninth in junior varsity debate while his brother, Gauge, was the fourth-place junior varsity speaker. Jacob Chisom of Monticello placed third in varsity debate and eighth in team debate. Ben Graves of Hot Springs was eighth in team debate and the 10th place professional speaker. Kyle Hargis of Warren placed third in junior varsity debate.
Individual awards at the national tournament went to Blake Adkins, who reached the round of 16 in team debate, was the eighth-place junior varsity speaker and a junior varsity quarterfinalist. Gauge Adkins also reached the round of 16 in team debate, was the thirdplace junior varsity speaker and reached the round of 16 in junior varsity debate.
Bijou reached the round of 16 in varsity debate, Kelly Brown was the fourth-place professional speaker, Natalie Craig reached the round of 16 in team debate, Ben Graves was the seventh-place team debate speaker, Gabe McDorman reached the round of 16 in team debate, Grace Nash and Abbygail Rounsaville each made the round of 16 in novice debate and Josh Smith was a professional debate semifi nalist.
Chisom was the third-place team debate speaker, a quarterfinalist in team debate, and twice reached the round of 16 in varsity debate. Dobbs was the eighthplace varsity speaker and twice made the round of 16 in varsity debate. Hargis was the ninthplace team debate speaker, a team debate quarterfinalist, and reached the round of I6 in junior varsity debate.
Others participating in the national tournament were Sam Aumagamanaia, Gabriel Bass, Luke Beatty, Jordan Lakin, Emily Mendiola, Tiffany Tucker and Zach Young.
“I am very proud of this year’s team,” said Jim Evans, director of debate and forensics. “Once again, we proved that the size of the school has nothing to do with the ability to compete on a level playing field with the best debate students in the country.”