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Debate team wins national championship for fourth time


The Simpson College debate team is the best in the nation — again. 

The 2020-21 Simpson College debate team continued its recent dominance on the national stage, winning the Pi Kappa Delta National Debate Championship held March 18-21, 2021. The title is the third in a row and fourth in five years for the program, which ascended from humble beginnings to become a national powerhouse. 

Simpson took top honors among the 79 colleges competing in the tournament, which was originally scheduled to take place in Texas but was held online due to COVID-19. The closest competitors in the final standings – Boise State University and Whitworth University – were 124 points off the pace set by Simpson.

Such a dominant performance is impressive in and of itself. But what’s more impressive is how fast it all came together for the speech and debate program.

The program formed a decade ago. The team had four members in its inaugural season. The following year brought eight team members. Then 17, then 40, then 45. Within five season, the 2015-16 team captured Simpson’s first national debate championship. The 2017-18 team won the program’s second title. Simpson has successfully defended its title every year since. The only exception was in 2019-20 – that season ended without a national championship due to COVID-19. 

Participation in each of the last four years has eclipsed 70 individuals. 

​​“It’s hard to imagine a school our size competing at a national level against much larger universities,” said Spencer Waugh, director of speech, debate and mock trial. “Those first few years, we were only traveling with four, five, six students and competing in a single style of debate.”

Waugh built the program from the ground up. He used previous national championship teams as a model for success and began recruiting aggressively to fill entries for all seven debate formats while continuing to strengthen the speech program. Now, the strength of the team lies in its depth, a rarity for a school Simpson’s size. 

“What sets us apart is we have a comprehensive program and we do multiple styles and formats of debate as well as having a speech team,” Waugh said. “It’s unusual for a school of our size to have a comprehensive debate program.”

The Pi Kappa Delta Championship is the largest national college comprehensive forensics tournament in the country. The Storm speech and debate team took part in four days of intense competition against 1,342 entries from 520 other students in 18 different events. 

2021 Debate Team Points
1.    Simpson College, 302
2.    Whitworth University, 178
3.    Boise State University, 178
4.    Hillsdale College, 148
5.    College of Western Idaho, 124
6.    Grove City College, 110
7.    University of Central Florida, 102
8.    Idaho State University, 98
9.    Webster University, 93
10.  Texas Christian University, 93

Third Place Finish, Team — Speech and Debate Nationals 
Tempest Allred
Jordan Baldwin
Mary Hendon
Ethan Humble
Lexi Johnston
Rady Malcom
Shelby McCasland
Ashley Merkley
Eden Moad
Jenna Pfeiffer
Kimberly Roberts
Marissa Salber

Debate Award Winners
Lincoln Douglas Debate, Octofinalist: Douglas Roberts
Lincoln Douglas Debate, Quarterfinalist: Scout Peery
Lincoln Douglas Debate, Semifinalist: Flory
Lincoln Douglas Debate, Junior Varsity National Champion: Trenity Rosenberg
Parliamentary Debate, Quarterfinalist: Michael Roets
Parliamentary Debate, Octofinalist: Sam Porter and Triniti Krauss
Parliamentary Debate, Octofinalist: Malcolm Smart and Scott Krueger
Public Forum, Quarterfinalist: Allie Tubbs and Adam Krell
Public Forum, Semifinalist: Drake Wood and Pascasie Redhage
Public Forum, Varsity National Runner-Up: Casey Spring and Danielle Blake
Public Forum, Novice National Runner-Up: Maximo Diaz and Will Keck
Public Forum, Junior Varsity National Co-Champions: Dylan Seibel and Monserrat Saucedo
Public Forum, Junior Varsity National Co-Champions: Alyssa Beckwith and Kylie Banouvong
Public Forum, 10th Speaker: Drake Wood
Public Forum, Fifth Speaker: Casey Spring
Public Forum, Fourth Speaker: Danielle Blake
Lincoln Douglas, Fifth Speaker: Flory
Lincoln Douglas, Fourth Speaker: Trenity Rosenberg
Lincoln Douglas, Third Speaker:  Scout Peery
Parliamentary Debate, Seconnd Speaker: Triniti Krauss
Speech Awards
Extemporaneous Speaking National Finalist, Fourth Place: Mo Marks
Extemporaneous Commentary National Finalist, Sixth Place: Mo Marks
Extemporaneous Commentary National Finalist, Second Place: Elise Sturgeon
After-Dinner Speaking Quarterfinalist: Elise Sturgeon
After-Dinner Speaking Quarterfinalist: Kylie Doupnik 
Dramatic Interpretation Quarterfinalist: Kylie Doupnik
Persuasion Semifinalist: Mo Marks
Individual Sweepstakes, Eighth Place: Mo Marks
Excellence in Interview: Allie Tubbs, Melanie Gillet, Kylie Doupnik, Faithyna Leonard, Elise Sturgeon, Monserrat Saucedo and Danielle Blake