The Belmont Abbey College Debate Team returned Sunday from Garden City, New York after competing in the Off Broadway Swing competition. In addition to individual success, the team collectively earned fourth place in the debate competition sweepstakes, in a field of 11 teams ranging from Seton Hall University to Colorado Christian University. Mary Rose Stepnowski and Logan Torve both concluded in the top 15% of competitors. Mary Rose was also awarded the gavel for second place in overall speaking points out of 54 competitors!
The tournament was run accordingly to Phi Ro Pi IPDA guidelines, which are catered to be more inclusive of two-year programs. Consequently, all students competed in varsity, including freshmen Hunter Owen and Isabelle Robertson. Belmont Abbey’s second and third year debaters all finished the four-round preliminary competition with winning records. Eric Swartz and Adrianna Hodges each won two rounds, while Mary Rose Stepnowski and Logan Torve both earned ballots in three of four rounds.
The 54 debaters were narrowed to a field of 16 for the “bronze round”. With 75% success records in preliminary rounds, Mary Rose and Logan were both selected to advance. Mary Rose won all three ballots to advance to the final “gold round”. Earning two of three ballots, Logan also advanced to the final round.
The final round proved more difficult, with Mary Rose winning one of three ballots to be named a silver award winner. Logan also dropped in the final round, positioning him as a second silver medalist for the team.
The students rounded out a successful semester by competing at a tournament in which only five schools advanced to elimination rounds. This type of competition is expected to challenge students even more than an average tournament, and our students certainly stepped up to that goal!