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ASU Debate Team members continue tournament success


JONESBORO, AR – Arkansas State’s Debate Team continues its success as team members dominated the Red River Classic Debate Tournament, hosted by Louisiana State University-Shreveport, last weekend. 

The ASU teams of Ken Corbit of Jonesboro/Micah Christenson of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Greg Warren of Cabot/Clint Simpson of Searcy went undefeated at the tournament, collecting perfect 6-0 records in preliminary rounds and 3-0 victories in their respective semifinal rounds. This set up a final round of Arkansas State vs. Arkansas State.

“It’s not very often that a team can put together an absolutely perfect tournament, but that is exactly what our parliamentary debate teams did this weekend,” said Dr. Chris Harper, director of the Debate Team and assistant professor of Communication Studies. “To have two teams go undefeated at a tournament is an amazing accomplishment and just goes to show how much work and dedication our debaters and graduate coaches have put into this debate season.”

In addition to ASU and host LSU-Shreveport, a total of 22 teams representing seven states competed in the tournament, including Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, William Carey University, Ole Miss, Union University, Central Arkansas and Kansas Wesleyan.

Individually, Corbit was the first-place overall speaker in the parliamentary division and Christensen finished second. Simpson was the third overall speaker in the parliamentary debate division. 

ASU was also successful in the novice (first year debate) division parliamentary debate. The team of Samantha Grooms of Springdale and Kimberly Brown of Houlka, Miss., advanced to the novice finals.  Grooms/Brown won their final round on a 3-0 decision to bring home the novice championship. Grooms was the top speaker in novice parliamentary debate.

The group also competed in team International Public Debate Association (IPDA).  The team of Christensen and Grooms finished 4-1 in preliminary rounds and advanced to the finals, dropping a close 2-1 decision.

Benton Bajorek of Jacksonville advanced to the semifinal round of IPDA debate before being eliminated.

“The team is really on a roll,” said Dr. Harper.  “We have won three tournaments in a row now—Western Kentucky, Crowder College, and LSU-Shreveport. I certainly expect to carry that momentum into next semester’s busy competition schedule.

“I want to highlight that being this successful takes a lot of support at many levels. Obviously, we are very thankful for the support of the ASU administration, our department chair Dr. Marcie Hayes and our dean Dr. Brad Rawlins. I also want to emphasize the great work done by our graduate assistant coaches Colton Gilbert and Mike Gray. They have done a fantastic job helping to prepare and motivate our debaters this semester,” concluded Dr. Harper.