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Debate season concludes with sixth place national finish

March 29, 2013

  • News Image
    From left: Joe Hykan, Ben Mann, Emily Halter, assistant coach Simone Walter, Director of Forensics Joe Gantt, assistant coach Joe Provencher, McKay Campbell, assistant coach Adam Testerman, Emily Tribble, Brigitte Tripp

Lewis & Clark’s debate team concluded its 2012-13 season with a sixth-place school ranking and several strong individual performances. The sixth-place school ranking is the best for Lewis & Clark since 2006, when the Pioneers finished in fourth. Approximately 200 schools competed in parliamentary debate during the 2012-13 season.

The school ranking was achieved at the championship tournament of the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), held in late March on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

Lewis & Clark’s top debate team of Emily Halter ’14 and Joe Hykan ’13 led the Pioneers with a ninth place finish at the tournament. During the course of the preliminary debates, Halter and Hykan defeated the top-ranked team in the nation, as well as the second- and sixth-ranked teams. Their nationals run ended with a loss in the octofinal debate. Hykan was named the 8th place individual debater in the nation while Halter was named to 13th place. The excellent performance at the NPDA championships followed up on a seventh-place national finish at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence held the previous weekend.

To place in the top 10 schools nationwide requires multiple teams debating at a high level. The teams of Emily Tribble ’15 and Brigitte Tripp ’16 as well as of McKay Campbell ’14 and Ben Mann ’14 had strong contributions to the overall team efforts. Tribble and Tripp also advanced to the octofinal debate, defeating the third-ranked team in the nation to become one of the top 16 teams at the championship tournament. Tripp was the only first-year student in the nation to reach the octofinal debate and the first since 2011. Campbell and Mann won 7 out of their 10 debates to finish among the top 32 teams at the tournament, falling in elimination debates.

“We had a very special week in Stockton. Every one of our teams prepared very hard for the national tournament, and each one of those teams contributed to the outstanding overall finish,” Joe Gantt, director of forensics, said. “We had first-year students, sophomores, juniors, and seniors all representing Lewis & Clark at the highest echelons of parliamentary debate. This was a great day for our program and an indication that the best is yet to come.”

While the debate season has come to an end, the Pioneer individual events team will travel to Hutchinson, Kansas, in early April to compete in the National Individual Events Tournament. In addition, several of the top debaters from the 2012-13 team will debate the champions of the Irish Times debate competition in an on-campus exhibition debate.