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Lewis & Clark debate team ranked first in the nation

November 09, 2015

Over the past fifty years, Lewis & Clark has consistently ranked among the top colleges and universities in the nation in forensics. And, with strong performances at their first four tournaments this year, the Lewis & Clark debate squad is ranked first in the nation according to the November 2 rankings released by the National Parliamentary Debate Association.

The NPDA rankings are composed of results from invitational tournaments across the nation. Instead of ranking each individual team, the NPDA rankings take the performance of a school’s top four teams at each tournament into account in order to arrive at the results. Lewis & Clark’s position at the top of the rankings comes largely because of the depth of the program.

“Often when we analyze an argument critically, we’re analyzing only the points we disagree with,” said Director of Forensics Joe Gantt. “Being able to critically analyze your own side—and see the weaknesses in your own arguments—can be exceptionally helpful in any career.”

Another set of rankings published by the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, which ranks each debate team separately, has three Lewis & Clark forensics teams among the top 18 in the nation: 

  • The team of Hannah Mathieson ’17 and Sarah McDonagh ’18 are currently ranked fifth in the nation;
  • The team of Carlton Bone ’18 and William Woods ’19 are currently ranked seventh in the nation; and,
  • The team of Taylor Knudson ’18 and Mikayla Parsons ’18 are currently ranked 18th in the nation.

“Rankings are a nice affirmation of the excellent work these students have done so far this season,” Gantt added. “We know that there are a number of schools who will certainly be challenging our standing in the coming months, but we plan to keep working hard to maintain the success that we have had to this point.”

The Lewis & Clark forensics team offers speech and debate students the opportunity to compete on a national level with other colleges and universities in both individual events—including persuasion, informative, extemporaneous, and impromptu—and parliamentary debate.

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