Aggie debaters win a national championship

USU’s Speech and Debate team returned as the national champions from the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament last weekend, competing against over 500 students from 28 states.

In IPDA (International Public Debate Association) competition <a href=”” target=”_blank”>the Aggies won</a> the open debate division, finished second in junior division and were both first and second in the novice division.

In this format debaters have no indication of the topic of each round.

“You walk into the room for each round of the competition,” said Head Coach Tom Worthen, “and there are five resolutions. You mark one off, your opponent marks one off, then you each do that again and the resolution remaining is the one you debate. The topic changes every single round. It’s one-on-one debate, like Lincoln-Douglas.”

Worthen said competitors are given 20 minutes to prepare and they are prepped as thoroughly as possible in that time.

“Preparing in the weeks leading up to the championships you try to understand what is going on in current events. At the event, after the 20 minutes they are more prepared sometimes than other times, but they have the skills to pull it off.”

USU’s Speech and Debate program is the only university among those with whom it competes that is not a budgeted item at their school, has no scholarships and that has no paid coaching staff.

“We do it for the passion, because we love it, and it’s good for the university. Often the best educational activity many students receive is outside the classroom and these students are prepared for a lot of things in the world as they go forward.”

Tanner Peterson was the winner in the open division debate, Alex Hall was second in the IPDA junior division while Naomi Ward and Zoe Hall were 1-2 in the novice division.

Chantelle Gardner received a superior rating in Lincoln-Douglas policy debate, Brayden O’Brien won an excellent rating in open IPDA, earning an excellent rating was Samantha Hendricks in Congress Informative Speaking, Garrett Smith earned an excellent rating in Interviewing and Persuasive Speaking.

This is Utah State’s second national title in Speech and Debate, winning for the first time in 2007.

It is Tom Worthen’s 35th year as a coach.

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