The University of Central Arkansas Debate and Forensics Team was recognized as the Arkansas Overall Champions at the Southern Forensics Championship, held at Arkansas Tech University from Jan. 26-28, 2018. This marks UCA’s fourth overall state championship in the last five years. This year’s Southern Forensics Championship was attended by 23 different colleges and universities from 6 different states.

The UCA team was represented by 16 UCA students: seniors Russell Holley, Hayden McCormick, Emily Pavlovic, Leia Smith and J.B. Wells; junior Dalton Cook; sophomores Jacob Holland, Cagney Kilgroe, Marco Ramirez, Wayd Risner, Elaina Taylor and Autumn Wilson; and freshmen Mason Duran, Greta Hacker, David Lee and Cristian Mendez.

In the Team IPDA Division, the team of Cook and Wells had a 3-1 record and reached the quarterfinals, while Wilson, who teamed with Taylor, was named the top speaker from Arkansas.

In the professional division, Smith went undefeated in the preliminary rounds. She advanced to the semifinals and was recognized as the Arkansas champion in the division.

Cook, Holland, Risner, Taylor and Wells competed in the varsity division. Holland reached the semifinals and was recognized as the Arkansas champion. Cook, Risner and Wells each had 3-3 preliminary round records but missed reaching the elimination rounds.

Holley, Kilgroe, Ramirez and Wilson were in the junior varsity division. Holley and Kilgroe each were recognized as octafinalists, while Kilgroe and Wilson both had 3-3 preliminary round records.

Finally, Duran, Hacker, McCormick, Mendez, and Pavlovic all competed in the novice division. Duran, Lee, McCormick, and Pavlovic each had 3-3 preliminary round records but missed reaching the elimination rounds. Duran was recognized as the top speaker from Arkansas and placed third overall in the division.

Holland and Ramirez also completed in individual events. Holland was named the top individual event competitor from Arkansas and fourth individual event competitor overall, reaching the finals in five events. Ramirez was named the top Arkansas competitor in prose interpretation and the fourth overall competitor in communication analysis.

The season continues with visits to Arkansas State University-Beebe and a return to Arkansas Tech University before UCA hosts its annual invitational March 9-11.