Debate team earns fall honors




December 2, 2013

CONTACT: Anthony McMullen, (501) 852-0695,; Dr. Larry Dilday, (501) 852-2348, 


By Brandon Riddle

College of Fine Arts and Communication Media Office

CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas debate team has received numerous awards this season at tournaments in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

UCA Debate was the top team among four-year universities in attendance at the Golden Eagle Invitational at John Brown University on Oct. 25-27.

Anthony McMullen, director of forensics, and Dr. Larry Dilday, assistant director of forensics and director of individual events, coach the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) team.

“I’m excited about how our team has done so far,” McMullen said. “We have a very young team this year, with a number of our debaters competing in IPDA for the first time.”

IPDA Debate is an extemporaneous debate style that emphasizes real-world persuasion skills. Debaters learn their topic only 30 minutes before the round starts, and debaters should be expected to debate any topic.

In IPDA at JBU, sophomore Joanna Averill was tournament champion in varsity division and received fourth-place speaker in varsity division; senior Stephanie Gray was first-place speaker in varsity division and varsity division quarterfinalist; freshman Braxton Johnson was varsity division semifinalist; freshman Danielle Casey was varsity division quarterfinalist and senior Kelsey Johnson received fourth place speaker in novice division.

The team also participated in forensic events. Gray received fourth place in informative speech; Averill received third place in extemporaneous speaking; Gray and sophomore Brady Shiers received sixth place in duo interpretation and Johnson received fifth place in poetry interpretation.

UCA competed in the Red River Classic at Louisiana State University–Shreveport on Nov. 8-10 and at Tulsa Community College on Nov. 15-17.

At Tulsa, Averill received second place speaker in varsity division, Casey was fourth-place speaker in varsity division and varsity semifinalist and Johnson was varsity quarterfinalist. The team won fourth place debate sweepstakes at the tournament.

Casey said her greatest achievement so far was winning second place at Henderson State University, UCA’s first tournament this semester.

“I feel like debate has helped me learn how to present my thoughts and opinions on various issues and topics in a coherent manner,” she said. “Being able to speak in front of people is a very valuable skill that debate has taught me.”

UCA debate received first place team IPDA sweepstakes and third place overall sweepstakes in Weevil Wars at the University of Arkansas-Monticello on Oct. 4-6.

Other students involved in the UCA debate team are include freshman Jaeci Card, senior Amir Nadarevic, junior Rickie Mangrum, freshman Daniel Ramirez, freshman Edgar Valdez, freshman Patton Beavers and freshman Hannah Malmstrom.

Debate is looking for new team members. Students interested can come to the weekly Tuesday meeting at 7:30 p.m. in Thompson Hall 211.

“The team is open to anyone on campus, regardless of previous debate experience,” McMullen said.

For more information about UCA’s debate team, contact McMullen at (501) 852-0695.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Communication, Mass Communication and Theatre, Music and Writing. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit or call (501) 450-3293.