DENTON (UNT), Texas – Garrett Hammonds and Abron Hester, two members of the University of North Texas Debate Team, won the 2016 Fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament held Nov. 3-5 at Tyler Junior College. The win came in UNT Debate’s second year in participating in this tournament.
The tournament was sanctioned by the National Parliamentary Debate Association, the largest national intercollegiate debate organization in the U.S. Parliamentary debate focuses more on rhetoric than policy debate. Topics in a NPDA tournament change for every round, and the two-student teams have only 15 minutes to prepare their arguments before a round begins.
Hammonds, a senior communications studies and political science major from Royse City, and Hester, a senior political science major from Harker Heights, defeated five teams in the preliminary rounds of the tournament, entering the elimination rounds as the top seed. The two won the championship by arguing the opposition for the topic “The United States should make Election Day a national holiday.”
Both students were also recognized as two of the top 10 debaters from a field of 70 students. Hester was named the tournament’s second best speaker while Hammonds took the sixth-place speaker award.
Four other members of UNT Debate represented the university at the tournament.
Colin Quinn, argument coach for UNT Debate, said the winning team prepared for the tournament for months.
“The results are a testament to their hard work and dedication,” he said.
Last February, Hammonds and Hester were named to the 2015-16 Texas All State Forensic Squad by the Texas Interscholastic Forensics Association, in recognition for their academic and competitive success during the season. The two won a tournament at Texas Christian University in October 2015, and both received top 10 speaker awards at the 2015 Fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament.