Speech and Debate Team hits another high note
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
Grand Canyon University’s Speech and Debate Team earned the rank of 14th out of 179 schools after competing in the National Parliamentary Debate Association championships this weekend.
The team’s ranking put it ahead of perennial top-20 teams such as Biola University in La Mirada, Calif.; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of Oregon.
In other highlights from the tournament, freshman Megan Truesdall finished 10th in the nation out of 286 speakers and her debate partner, senior Alaina Owen, finished 14th.
The debate partnership of sophomore Jasmin Sharp and senior Thomas Rotering became the first in team history to advance to elimination rounds at the National Championship tournament, where they finished in the double-octofinals (round of 32 out of 143 teams).
“I am truly in awe of what our team has accomplished,” said team director Barry Regan, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences instructor. “To finish as a top-15 team in the nation, and have two of our debaters also be ranked in the top 15 individually, is not something I thought was possible when we started our team in fall 2013.
“I can’t say enough about the work of our debate coaching staff — Josh Vannoy, Emma Hong, and Jason Hong — who have really taken our team to the next level.
Regan said he is especially proud of the debate case that Owen and Truesdall crafted for the tournament.
“Its main thesis is that intercollegiate debate needs to focus on more open, inclusive and affirming discourse, and less on toxic domination of opponents. This is a different approach compared to how a lot of teams approach nationals, but it really paid off,” Regan said.
Dr. Sherman Elliott, CHSS dean, congratulated Regan’s “exemplary and steadfast leadership. … I would challenge any other university to do what you have done in such a short period of time. We will celebrate our speakers, debaters and you for a long time.”
This tournament was held a week after GCU hosted its first ever national collegiate tournament, where the team broke several records. Click here to read about it.
Debate is done for the year, but the national speech championships are scheduled for April 12-17 at the University of Wisconsin.
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.