UCA Debate and Forensics competes at the IPDA National Championship


Pictured from left to right: Jacob Holland, Leia Smith, Stormy Giddens, Cagney Kilgroe, Morgan Newton, Marco Ramirez, Russell Holley, J.B. Wells, Dr. Anthony McMullen, and Dalton Cook. (Not pictured: Tanner Meyer, Wayd Risner)

UCA Debate and Forensics ended its IPDA season on a high note by finishing third overall at the IPDA National Championship, held at Arkansas Tech University on March 23-26, 2017. This concluded one of UCA’s best seasons in recent history. 

The highest honor for the team went to sophomore Dalton Cook, who won the IPDA Championship in the varsity division. Cook had a 7-1 preliminary round record and was the second seed in the elimination rounds. Junior J.B. Wells also reached the elimination rounds in the varsity division and was recognized as the 5th best speaker in the division.

In the professional division, Junior Leia Smith was the 8th ranked speaker at the tournament and reached the quarterfinals. In the junior varsity division, freshman Jacob Holland reached the octafinal round. Finally, in the novice division, freshman Cagney Kilgroe and senior Russell Holley were the third and fourth seeds, respectively, in the elimination rounds. Kilgroe reached the quarterfinals, while Holley was eliminated in the first round. In Team IPDA, the team of Cook and Wells had a 3-1 preliminary round record and reached the semifinals before being eliminated. Smith, who teamed with Holland, received an award for fourth speaker. Freshman Tanner Meyer, who teamed with freshman Wayd Risner, was recognized as the eighth best speaker in the division.

In addition to finishing third overall at the National Championship, UCA ranked fifth in Team IPDA Sweepstakes, third in the Founders Cup Sweepstakes (which combines the novice, junior varsity, varsity, and professional divisions) and second in the Scholastic Sweepstakes (which combines the novice, junior varsity, varsity, and team divisions).

UCA Debate and Forensics was also recognized for its performance over the season. UCA was recognized as the top program for the season in Team IPDA. The team of Freshmen Tanner Meyer and Wayd Risner were ranked ninth for the season, while Cook and Wells were ranked fourth.

Overall, UCA placed third overall for the season. This included fifth place in novice program sweepstakes, third place in junior varsity program sweepstakes, and third place in professional program sweepstakes. Holland spent half the season in the novice division and half in the junior varsity division; he was recognized as the tenth best speaker in both divisions. In junior varsity, Meyer was ranked fifth best speaker and seventh best debater for the season. Finally, Smith was ranked top speaker and third best debater for the season. This marked Smith’s third season-long season speaker championship.

Though the IPDA season is over, one event remains. Cook and Smith will be representing UCA at the James Madison Commemorative Debate, to be held at James Madison University on April 17.