March 28, 2013

Lewis & Clark debate concludes season with 6th place national finish

The Lewis & Clark debate team concluded its 2012-2013 season with a 6th place school ranking and several strong individual performances.
  • 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

The Lewis & Clark debate team concluded its 2012-2013 season with a 6th place school ranking. The school ranking was achieved at the Championship Tournament of the National Parliamentary Debate Association, held March 22-25 on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.

Lewis & Clark’s top debate team of Emily Halter (CAS ‘14) and Joe Hykan (CAS ‘13) led the Pioneers with a 9th place finish at the tournament. During the course of the preliminary debates, Halter and Hykan defeated the top ranked team in the nation from Southern Illinois University (the debaters from SIU went on to win the national championship), as well as the 2nd ranked team in the nation from Concordia University and the 6th ranked team in the nation from Whitman College. Their nationals run ended with a loss to Washburn University in the octofinal debate. Hykan was named the 8th place individual debater in the nation while Halter was named the 13th place individual debater. The excellent performance at the NPDA championships followed up on a 7th place national finish at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence held the previous weekend.

In order to place in the top ten schools, however, the squad needed to have multiple teams debating at a high level. The teams of Emily Tribble (CAS ‘15) and Brigitte Tripp (CAS ‘16) as well as McKay Campbell (CAS ‘14) and Ben Mann (CAS ‘14) both had strong contributions to the overall team efforts. Tribble and Tripp also advanced to the octofinal debate, defeating the 3rd ranked team in the nation from Pepperdine University to become one of the top sixteen teams at the Championship Tournament. Tripp was the only first-year student nationally to reach the octofinal debate and the first since 2011. Campbell and Mann won seven out of their ten debates to finish among the top 32 teams at the tournament, falling in a close debate to eventual 2nd place finisher McKendree University in elimination debates.

The 6th place school ranking is the best for Lewis & Clark since 2006, when the Pioneers finished in 4th. Approximately 200 schools competed in parliamentary debate during the 2012-2013 season.

Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said of these accomplishments, “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. 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, KS April 5-9 to compete in the National Individual Events Tournament. Also, several of the top debaters from the 2012-2013 team will debate the champions of the Irish Times debate competition in an on-campus exhibition debate on Monday, April 1 at 7:00 in the Council Chamber in the Templeton Student Center.