ArkansasTech1 (1)

The Belmont Abbey debaters returned to campus yesterday morning after competing at Arkansas Tech University’s tournament this weekend. The competition involved both team and individual IPDA. In team debate, Mary Rose Stepnowski and Logan Torve advanced through both Quarterfinals and Semifinals on 2-1 decisions over the University of Central Arkansas and Drury University. In the final round against another team from the University of Central Arkansas, Belmont Abbey dropped on a 1-2 decision. In all, Mary Rose and Logan placed second of 17 teams from seven schools. Logan was also named fourth individual speaker for the team tournament.

The second half of the weekend included individual IPDA, wherein approximately one third of 64 competitors advanced to elimination rounds. In novice, Addie Hodges won three of six rounds, positioning her only speaker points away from the top ten in her division. In junior varsity, Mary Rose Stepnowski dropped in a break round that would have advanced her to elimination rounds, resulting in a 2-4 record. Finally, in varsity, Logan Torve was unable to break with a 2-4 record; however, he was awarded second varsity speaker at the tournament.

For our next tournament, we will return to Arkansas Tech University for the IPDA National Championship Tournament and Convention in late March. This past weekend’s competition primarily served to learn the differences in judging preferences and regional argumentation prior to the tournament next month. There are a few significant changes that we will be working on between now and then to see more positive results at the National Championship. Ultimately, most lost ballots came down to framing and weighing mechanism preferences that differ from North Carolina’s region.

Additionally, I want to provide a brief update regarding the tournament schedule. In place of the University of Tennessee- Knoxville tournament that was cancelled earlier this semester, we will be taking the team captains to the Lafayette Debates in early April. Hosted primarily at George Washington University and sponsored in coordination with the French Embassies to the United States and Canada, this annual public debate event utilizes a single pre-determined topic to challenge students’ depth of research and clarity in argumentation. Logan Torve and Mary Rose Stepnowski will be representing Belmont Abbey College in competition against schools such as Stanford University, Ecole de Guerre, James Madison University, and George Washington University. While the formal topic for the year has yet to be announced, the topic area has been released and will discuss “migrations.” Students who perform particularly well in the Lafayette Debates have unique opportunities to garner prestigious scholarships to visit France through the debate’s Young Ambassador Program. The students understand that this tournament will require concentration in their research, and we hope to make the trip an annual tradition at Belmont Abbey College for our most dedicated and accomplished debate students.