There’s no debating GCU’s speech and debate cachet
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
In the latest proof of Grand Canyon University’s rapidly rising stature, the University has been selected to host the 2017 National Christian College Forensics Invitational.
The tournament, one of the most prestigious speech and debate events of the year, will bring as many as 400 competitors, faculty and family members from across the country to GCU.
“The good news is that all the teams will be staying in the Grand Canyon University Hotel,” said Barry Regan, GCU Speech and Debate Team director. “This event is going to take over most of the campus. It’s going to be a really big tournament.”
“We have become, from a visibility perspective, just as effective as basketball.”
— Barry Regan, Speech and Debate Team director
The selection is even more significant because the competition, scheduled for March 24-26, 2017, will mark the 20th edition of the National Christian College championships.
This also appears to be GCU’s first time hosting a national championship speech and debate tournament, said Regan, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences instructor.
“We’ve solidified our position across the country, as a university with the cachet to host this level of tournament,” he said. “We have become, from a visibility perspective, just as effective as basketball.”
The Speech and Debate Team has even more reason to be proud — it repeated as Division III champion in this year’s National Christian College Forensics Invitational.
GCU competitors not only accumulated the most sweepstakes points in the team’s history at this tournament; all 10 speech entries either finished in the top three in their events or made it into elimination rounds.
“We’ve never achieved this in our team’s three-year history at a national championship tournament,” he said.
That the young team has achieved so much in three years is in part the result of the hiring of an assistant coach, Michael Dvorak.
“We believe our team’s success this year (Mike’s first) compared to past years speaks volumes about the type of coach he is and the impact he’s had on our team,” Regan said.
● 2014 — Four finalists, two top-five finishes
● 2015 — Six finalists, four top-five finishes
● 2016 — 10 finalists, nine top-five finishes
“Mike works endlessly with our speech competitors, and his dedication to each of them demonstrates why we are performing so well at the highest level of competition,” Regan said.
Related stories about this year’s successes:
Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.