DENTON (UNT), Texas — Members of the University of North Texas Debate Team received multiple honors at the 2017 Spring Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament, which led to the team taking home a top award.
The tournament offered 14 events, which included three forms of team debate as well as individual competitions in interpretation, public address and speaking. In all events, students accumulate points for wins in preliminary and elimination rounds, and participation in elimination rounds. The 13 UNT Debate Team members participating in the tournament accumulated more points than students from any of the other 15 colleges and universities to win the award for best overall performance by a team.
In addition to winning the overall sweepstakes, the debate team received the first-place award for the debate competition, based on students’ performances in those events.
Brian Lain, UNT director of debate, said the overall sweepstakes award is especially meaningful because UNT students competed in fewer events than students from other universities, but dominated those events, particularly in debate.
"The closest analogy I can think of is the Olympics, where a country can be ahead in the medal count even though it may not have an athlete winning gold for every event," he said. "We had hoped to win the debate sweepstakes, but this we did not expect."
In the Lincoln-Douglas debate division, Emily Jackson, freshman ecology major from Plano, and Cortez Proal, sophomore political science major from Montgomery, Texas, won first and second in two different competitions. Jackson was named the top speaker and Proal the second-best speaker.
In parliamentary debate, Garrett Hammonds, a senior communications studies and political science major from Royse City, and Abron Hester, a senior political science major from Harker Heights, reached the final rounds, and Hammonds was named the second-best speaker.
Hammonds and Hester also were named to the 2016-17 Texas All State Forensic Squad by the Texas Interscholastic Forensics Association, which consists of college debate coaches. Students are selected to the squad for win/loss records in speech and debate, grade point average, community service and leadership. Hammonds and Hester won the parliamentary debate competition at the 2016 Fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament last November, and both were recognized as two of the top 10 debaters.
In addition, they will represent UNT at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, which will be held March 19-21.