The Belmont Abbey debaters returned to campus yesterday after competing in over 60 collective rounds at the International Public Debate Association’s National Championship this weekend. The competition involved both team and individual IPDA. In team debate, Mary Rose Stepnowski and Logan Torve advanced to elimination rounds after winning three of four preliminary rounds. They won on 2-1 decisions in both octofinals and quarterfinals, defeating teams from Arkansas State University and Drury University respectively. Mary Rose and Logan dropped in semifinals against Louisiana State University- Shreveport, placing them at a tie for third overall in the team division of the IPDA National Championship.

The second half of the weekend was reserved for individual IPDA, including over 250 competitors. In novice, Addie Hodges won two of eight rounds, and Eric Swartz won seven. Dropping only one ballot in preliminary rounds, Eric was the sixth seed of 108. His ranking gave him an automatic win in partial triple octofinals. In double octofinals, Eric picked up all three ballots against Union University to advance to octofinals. There, he dropped on a close 1-2 decision to another Union University debater. The debater who won his octofinal round went on to win the division in finals, while Eric was able to tie for ninth place overall.

In junior varsity, Nicholas Oestreich won three of his preliminary rounds, while Mary Rose Stepnowski went 4-4. Mary Rose was awarded 28th overall seed in her division.

Moving on to varsity, Logan Torve advanced to elimination rounds with a 6-2 record. In double octofinals, Logan advanced over Drury University. In octofinals, he lost a close round on a 1-2 decision against a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University. He consequently tied for ninth overall and was awarded sixth speaker.

The IPDA National Championship for March 2018 will be held at Whitworth College a few hours outside of Seattle, Washington.

For our final tournament of the season, the captains will be visiting Washington D.C. to compete at the Lafayette Debates at George Washington University in partnership with the French Embassies to the United States and Canada. As always, thank you for your continued support of the program and our students!