Sep 30, 2008

Liberty debate grabs gold in first two tournemants for the year

by Drew Menard

The Liberty Debate team cleaned up the competition at the season-opening Georgia State Debate Tournament and claimed first place in the novice and junior varsity divisions.

The team of Melanie Darling and Beau Troxclair swept the novice division going 6-0 in the preliminary rounds and 4-0 in the elimination rounds. Maria Eller and Jessica Maddox, Joshua Armstrong and Joseph Autry, and Chelsea Thompson and Tierra Thompson also qualified for the elimination rounds representing Liberty. The dominant Flames went 6-1 in the elimination round. Darling and Troxclair claimed first place overall with Eller and Mattox taking second and Armstrong and Autry finishing in third place. This is the first debate ever for the novice debaters, making Darling and Troxclairs’ undefeated streak all the more phenomenal.
“It is an amazing feeling to be done with the first tournament,” Darling said. “It really inspired us as a team to keep up all the work we have put in so far.”

Austin Woodruff and Lincoln Garrett teamed up for the Flames junior varsity division and were awarded first place overall after going undefeated in the preliminary rounds.

The Liberty teams of Amanda Atkins and Katie Jordan, and Jackie Poapst and Ryan Bass both had a 4-2 record going into the elimination rounds. Bass and Poapst claimed victory in their quarterfinal and were then eliminated in a split decision against Florida State in the semi-final round. Garrett and Woodruff defeated Emory University and Louisiana-Lafayette before overcoming Florida State in the finals.

The Flames carried their momentum from Georgia State into the Clarion University Debate Tournament this weekend. Led by varsity debaters Stephanie Dillard and Ross Garrett, who took first place in the tournament, Liberty won both the novice and varsity divisions. Thirteen of the 15 teams representing Liberty qualified for the elimination rounds.?

Dillard and Garrett went 5-1 in the preliminary rounds and joined Michelle Oh and Joshua Turnage, Eddie Fitzgerald and Jeff White, and Amy Boyd and Ben Hagwood in the elimination rounds.?Darling and Troxclair extended their unbeaten streak, finishing the tournament 9-0 and claiming first place overall.

Catherine Hardee and Kate Lacaze finished the preliminary rounds 4-2 and went 3-0 in the elimination rounds to meet Darling and Troxclair in the final, setting up an all-Liberty final round.?

Garrett and Woodruff were upset in a split-decision final round, preventing a Liberty sweep in all three divisions. Garrett and Woodruff were 6-0 in the preliminary rounds. ?

The Flames were also dominant in the individual top speaker awards claiming six of the top ten awards in both the varsity and novice divisions and claimed first through sixth place in the junior varsity awards.?

“We hope some of this momentum carries over into the future,” Director of Debate Michael Hall said.

Hall noted that the most outstanding aspect of the Debate Team was its commitment to the team, rather than individual success.
“We have a strong sense of working together as a team, and as a coach that is one of the things you hope for,” Hall said.
Liberty debate established itself early as a contender for the 2009 national rankings championship, earning more points than any other school in the tournament.

“It was an encouragement to know that our hard work was paying off in our tournaments by our outstanding results as a team,” Darling said.

Three governing intercollegiate debate organizations, the American Debate Association (ADA), the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) and the National Debate Tournament (NDT) award points based on team performance in each tournament that are used to issue mid-season and year-end rankings, according to a press release by the Liberty University
Debate Center.

At the conclusion of the 2005-2006 season, Liberty became the first school to win the championship in all three organizations. Liberty reclaimed its triple title after the 2006-2007 season. Liberty claimed the ADA championship in 2008 and took second in both the CEDA and NDT rankings.

Fourteen debaters have returned to the lineup this season, six on the junior varsity team and eight competing at the varsity level. There are 18 new debaters competing at the novice level this season.

This year the resolution, or topic for debate, is “that the United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its agricultural support, at least eliminating nearly all of the domestic subsidies, for biofuels, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, corn, cotton, dairy, fisheries, rice, soybeans, sugar and/or wheat,” according to the CEDA Web site.


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