The University of Central Arkansas Debate and Forensics began its 2017-18 season with a second-place overall finish at the Weevil Wars Debate Tournament, held October 6-8, 2017, at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

The team competed against students from twenty different colleges and universities from seven states. With more than 180 participants, tournament organizers believe that the tournament was the largest non-championship International Public Debate Association (IPDA) tournament in the organization’s 21-year history.

The team was represented by 13 UCA students: seniors Hayden McCormick, Leia Smith and J.B. Wells; junior Dalton Cook; sophomores Jacob Holland, Cagney Kilgroe, Emily Pavlovic, Marco Ramirez, Wayd Risner and Elaina Taylor; and freshmen Mason Duran, Greta Hacker and Anna Stroud.

In the Team IPDA division, the teams of Holland and Smith, Cook and Wells, and Duran and Risner each had a 3-1 preliminary round record. Holland and Smith reached the semifinals, and Holland was recognized as the third best speaker in the division.

Smith and Wells represented the team in the Professional Division, with Smith reaching the quarterfinals after earning a 5-1 preliminary round record. Smith was also recognized as the second-best speaker in the division.

Cook, Holland, Risner and Taylor competed in the Varsity Division. Cook earned an award for fifth best speaker and reached the elimination rounds with a 5-1 preliminary round record. Holland and Taylor each had 3-3 preliminary round records but narrowly missed the elimination rounds.

Kilgroe, Ramirez and Stroud were in the Junior Varsity Division. Ramirez was the fourth-seeded debater in the elimination rounds, while Kilgroe was the division runner-up and second-best speaker.

Duran, Hacker, McCormick and Pavlovic participated in their first IPDA debate tournament in the Novice Division. Hacker and McCormick each had 3-3 preliminary round records but narrowly missed reaching the elimination rounds.

Holland, Ramirez and Stroud also represented UCA Debate and Forensics at the Storm Classic Forensics Tournament, held Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2017, at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The three participated in individual events sanctioned by the American Forensics Association. Stroud was recognized as the top novice in dramatic interpretation. Ramirez was named a finalist in communication analysis. Holland received awards for his performance in program of oral interpretation and after-dinner speaking.

Later this semester, UCA Debate and Forensics will be participating at tournaments at Louisiana State University at Shreveport, Northwestern State University and the University of Oklahoma.

The team is seeking financial support to allow it to participate in the 2018 IPDA National Championship. The team earned third place at last year’s championship, when it was held at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas.

The 2018 tournament will be held at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. For more information, contactAnthony McMullen, director of Forensics,  at amcmullen@uca.edu.