The Simpson Speech & Debate Team captured its first national title this weekend, defeating 85 schools from throughout the country at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Speech & Debate Tournament at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Simpson edged Colorado Christian by 1.5 points to win the team debate title, making Simpson the top comprehensive debate program in the country.
“We had never been better prepared for debate nationals before,” said Spencer Waugh, director of Speech & Debate. We had strength across four of the six debate divisions, and all 18 of our debate entries performed well.
“I am incredibly proud of their hard work, and I am thrilled that it paid off.”
Simpson crowned one individual winner: Senior Ethan Fredrick was named Top Speaker and Tournament Champion in Varsity Parliamentary Debate.
What’s even more impressive about the team debate title is that Simpson did not have a debate program until five years ago, when Waugh took over.
During this season’s first practice, he reminded the Simpson Speech & Debate Team members how far they had advanced in the national title competition the past four years:
2011-12: No placing.
2012-13: 21st in Debate.
2013-14: 14th in Debate.
2014-15: 5th in Debate.
“What’s next?” asked Waugh, director of Speech & Debate.
The students were clear: Their goal was to win the national championship in 2015-16.
“They knew they could do it,” Waugh said.
He credited the work ethic of the team members as well as the help of three assistant coaches: Katie Brunner, assistant director of Speech & Debate; Marty Feeney, speech coach; and Tim Overton, debate coach.
Simpson added speech recently, and that group also performed well, finishing ninth in team points.
And don’t expect any let up next year.
“This was actually more of a building year for us,” Waugh said. “We have a very young team.”
Parliamentary Debaters competed in six preliminary rounds. The top 16 teams in each division advanced to octo-finals.
Varsity Parliamentary Debate
Ethan Fredrick & Michelle Beving: Quarter-Finalists
Ethan Fredrick: Top Speaker and Tournament Champion in Varsity Parliamentary Debate
Junior Parliamentary Debate
Kelsey Schott & Sarah Baker: Octo-Finalists
Alex Geren & Will Seiler: Octo-finalists
13th Speaker: Will Seiler
12th Speaker: Kelsey Schott
11th Speaker: Alex Geren
Novice Parliamentary Debate
Sydney Samples & Emily Schwickerath defeated Kansas Wesleyan in octo-finals; Schwickerath/Samples defeated Belmont in quarter-finals. They lost to Grove City College in semi-finals to place 5th in the nation.
13th Speaker – Sydney Samples
7th Speaker – Emily Schwickerath
Public Forum Debate
Paul Safford & Tristan Carman – Quarter-finalists
Lydia Magalhaes & Randy Paulson – Quarter-finalists
5th Speaker: Lydia Magalhaes
Best Legislators (peer-voted) Matt Haynie
Top Legislator Awards (judge preference) Matt Haynie, Bobbi Fogle, Robert Lyons, Sarah Heiderstadt, Jordan Pope
Quarter-finalist: Riley Brennan
Quarter-finalist: Robert Lyons
3rd (out of 180) Robert Lyons
12th Bobbi Fogle
24th Alex Cutchey
Excellence Awards in Interview: Val Wilson & Emily Schwickerath
Junior International Public Debate (IPDA)
Riley Brennan Octo-finalist.
Danielle Bates & Pierce Carey 3-3
Combined Sweepstakes Speech & Debate: 9th (Team Points)