The debate team at the University of Arkansas at Monticello completed the 2016-17 season by winning the season-long varsity debate national championship presented by the International Public Debate Association.
UAM finished no lower than second place in five categories based on the competitive results of IPDA debate tournaments throughout the academic year. In addition to the varsity division national title, UAM placed second in team debate, second in junior varsity debate, won the second place Scholastic Award and the second place Founders Award.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment by our debate program and I am so proud of the efforts of our students and their coaches,” UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes said in a news release. “The ability to communicate through the spoken word will open so many doors for these students as they move forward. My congratulations to them all.”
UAM placed third in the Team Debate Sweepstakes at the IPDA National Tournament hosted by Arkansas Tech University, took fourth in the Founders Sweepstakes and fourth in the Tournament Sweepstakes.
Also, UAM’s Reagan Dobbs, a senior from Dayton, Texas, was named the national champion team debate speaker and the national champion varsity speaker. Dobbs finished third overall in team debate and fourth in varsity debate.
Other individual honors went to Cody Bijou, a senior from Crosby, Texas, who finished second nationally in varsity debate, third in team debate, was the fourth place team debate speaker and the fifth place varsity debate speaker.
Blake Adkins of Vilonia was ninth in junior varsity debate while his brother, Gauge, was the fourth place junior varsity speaker. Jacob Chisom of Monticello placed third in varsity debate and eighth in team debate. Ben Graves of Hot Springs was eighth in team debate and the 10th place professional speaker. Kyle Hargis of Warren placed third in junior varsity debate.
Individual awards at the national tournament went to Blake Adkins, who reached the round of 16 in team debate, was the eighth place junior varsity speaker and a junior varsity quarterfinalist. Gauge Adkins also reached the round of 16 in team debate, was the third place junior varsity speaker, and reached the round of 16 in junior varsity debate.
Cody Bijou reached the round of 16 in varsity debate, Kelly Brown was the fourth place professional speaker, Natalie Craig reached the round of 16 in team debate, Ben Graves was the seventh place team debate speaker, Gabe McDorman reached the round of 16 in team debate, Grace Nash and Abbygail Rounsaville each made the round of 16 in novice debate, and Josh Smith was a professional debate semifinalist.
Jacob Chisom was the third place team debate speaker, a quarterfinalist in team debate, and twice reached the round of 16 in varsity debate. Reagan Dobbs was the eighth place varsity speaker and twice made the round of 16 in varsity debate. Kyle Hargis was the ninth place team debate speaker, a team debate quarterfinalist, and reached the round of I6 in junior varsity debate.
Others participating were Sam Aumagamanaia, Gabriel Bass, Luke Beatty, Jordan Lakin, Emily Mendiola, Tiffany Tucker, and Zach Young.
“I am very proud of this year’s team,” said Jim Evans, director of debate and forensics. “Once again we proved that the size of the school has nothing to do with the ability to compete on a level playing field with the best debate students in the country.”