Aggie Speech and Debate team brings home another national title

Members of the USU Speech and Debate team, winners in the 2019 national competition, are, front row l-r: Naomi Ward, Zoe Hall, Sam Hendricks and Chantelle Gossner; middle row: Brock Redman, Kaleb Webb and Rachel McDonald; back row: Garrett Smith, Coach Tom Worthen and Ammon Teare.

In March, Utah State University’s Speech and Debate team won its third national title at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.

This is Tom Worthen’s 37th year as the unpaid Speech and Debate coach and he runs a program that receives no budgeted money from USU.

“I do appreciate the President’s office has helped us out,” Worthen says, “and the Dean’s office and our department chair. It’s just that we’re not guaranteed that as an item in the budget.”

Coach Worthen said only Utah and Utah State sponsor speech and debate teams in-state, but the Aggies don’t offer scholarships.

“We don’t get the top students that were state champions that go to a school because they can get a scholarship, because we don’t have that funding. So, a lot of time we just pull people out of my classes, some of them have had high school experience.”

Aggie debaters Sam Hendricks and Chantelle Gossner earned the top two spots in the open division, the top division of debate competition.

Other USU debaters who placed in the tournament were Rachael McDonald, Zoe Hall, Brock Redman and Kaleb Webb.

“We do it for the passion, because we love it, and it’s good for the university,” said Worthen. “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.”

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1 Comment

  • Warren s Pugh April 4, 2019 at 6:38 am Reply

    Ah memories. Ineligible for sports but not for debate team and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges. Good for yuh. Later in life had a chess team or two, very self sufficient, for near 20 years. No school $$. Love this chaps ethics while college presidents make $19,000 to $500,000 per month. Somethin’ ain’t right.

    Won’t get caught arguing with these kids either. Congratulations.

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