Debate team successful in Russellville

Katy Murray
Commentary Editor   

   The University of Arkansas – Monticello’s speech and debate team stood strong and maintained its national ranking of second place in the International Public Debate Association at the Arabian Nights Forensics Tournament, held Jan. 21-22 at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

   According to Scott Kuttenkuler, director of forensics, the IPDA bases national rankings on the cumulative total of speech and debate competitions for each school throughout the year.

   “I’m confident that this team can retain its current ranking and may have a chance to take over first place by the end of the season,” Kuttenkuler said.

   The team provided a healthy showing at the tournament with several star players who took home awards in divisions including: varsity debate, duo-interpretation, communication analysis, impromptu speaking, pentathlon and after-dinner speaking.  Junior Matt Baumgarten of Monticello won a first-place speaker award for UAM, and reached the quarter finals in the varsity debate division.

   He then united with Brandi Morgan, a junior from Crossett, and they successfully placed sixth in the duo-interpretation division. Morgan also won a second-place award in communication analysis. 

   Junior Chad Rogers of Bentonville placed first in impromptu speaking, fourth in the pentathlon and third in duo interpretation while teamed with Joel Brown, a first-year student from Monticello. Brown also earned the third-place title in after-dinner speaking.  

   Others competing for the UAM team included juniors April Jacks of Star City and Cody Wales of Monticello, and first-year students Brian Rauls of Bearden, Tim Williamson of Monticello and Lydia Gorse of Texarkana, Texas.

   The IPDA exists as an organization that has committed itself to academic debate as a communicative art form. They promote debate as a fun, educational and most of all rhetorical activity for students to compete against other schools, while exercising their debating skills. The UAM speech and debate team participates in their tournaments on a regular basis and travels to various locales to defend their collective ranking and possibly even achieve a higher standing for the school.

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