Lewis & Clark debate team wins prestigious tournament
The debate team of McKay Campbell ’14 and Emily Halter ’14 recently won the prestigious Great Salt Lake Invitational, held at the University of Utah. Campbell and Halter placed first out of a field of 98 teams from 34 schools across the nation, defeating a team from William Jewell College in the final debate to win the title.
Over the course of the tournament, Campbell and Halter won 10 debates with only one loss. The duo defeated teams from University of Oregon, University of Puget Sound, and University of California at Los Angeles in preliminary round debates on topics such as United States-Russia relations, intellectual property law, and invasive species.
In the “win or go home” elimination debates, they won five debates in a row to advance to the final, including a quarterfinal win over McKendree University and a semifinal win over the University of Utah to set up the final round debate with William Jewell.
In the final, Lewis & Clark successfully advocated for increased United States involvement in the refugee crisis in South Sudan, winning a unanimous decision of the judging panel. The win represents the fourth tournament victory of the academic year for Lewis & Clark debate and cements Campbell and Halter as strong contenders for the national championships in March.
“Winning this tournament is a massive accomplishment,” said Joe Gantt, director of forensics and head coach of the team. “This tournament is the most competitive we will see this entire year outside of nationals, with 22 of the top 25 teams in the nation competing. It is a credit to Emily and McKay for their skills as debaters and the exceptional amount of work they put in to prepare. They are fantastic representatives of Lewis & Clark.”
Lewis & Clark’s achievements were not limited to Campbell and Halter. The team of Brigitte Tripp ’16 and Emily Tribble ’15 also advanced deep into the tournament, defeating teams from Texas Tech University, Puget Sound, and The University of Nevada at Reno before falling to a team from Utah in quarterfinals. The team of Stormi Hoebelheinrich ’15 and Ben Mann ’14 advanced to elimination rounds as well.
The Pioneers’ strong performances at the Great Salt Lake tournament came on the heels of significant achievements at the Texas Tech Invitational. Campbell and Halter advanced to quarterfinals, and Tribble, Tripp, Hoebelheinrich, and Mann were among the top 32 teams. The team of Maya Gold ’14 and Lee Palmer ’15 also advanced to elimination rounds. Halter was recognized as the fifth most outstanding speaker across both tournaments, while Lewis & Clark was honored as the third place school overall.
Next, the Lewis & Clark forensics team will travel to Pacific University for a tournament on January 24-26. On the subsequent weekend, Lewis & Clark will welcome high school students from across the region for the first high school speech and debate tournament to be held on campus in nearly a decade.