The University of Nebraska–Lincoln finished fourth overall in the debate portion of the National Forensics Association’s national tournament.
The Lincoln Douglas Debate contest was held in Santa Ana, California, April 18-22. A strong group of young students led the team, including Nicholas McConnell of Lincoln, who won the Novice National Championship in Lincoln Douglas Debate, making him the top first-year debater in the nation. This is the second time a Husker debater has won this award in the last three years.
Sophomore Colin Dike of Lansing, Kansas, led the team in victories. He compiled an 8-2 record and advanced to the semifinal round before losing on a 3-2 decision to eventual national champion Anthony Survance from Western Kentucky University. He was joined in varsity elimination rounds by fellow sophomore Addison Stugart of Omaha and freshman Gregory Quick of Egan, Minnesota. Junior Zach Thornhill of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, finished as the 13th-ranked speaker in the nation. One-hundred-twenty students competed in this year’s national tournament.
This was the third-consecutive year Nebraska has finished in the top five in the nation in Lincoln Douglas Debate and the 10th-straight year the team has finished in the top 15.
The team’s success in debate comes on the heels of its achievements earlier this month at the national speech tournament, where the team finished eighth.
“I cannot be more proud of the success that our team has had this year,” Justin Kirk, director of debate, said. “The hard work, dedication and team culture can all be attributed to the students’ drive and excellence as researchers and debaters.
“As a first-year director at the university, I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve one of the oldest speech and debate programs in the nation, overwhelmed by the dedication of our students and excited about the future of the program in years to come.”
Aaron Duncan, director of speech and debate, said the successes of the teams can be attributed to the culture of excellence in the program.
“The University Nebraska–Lincoln is one of two teams in the nation to rank in the top 10 in both speech and Lincoln Douglas Debate,” he said. “Nebraska cultivates a culture in which achievement is encouraged and rewarded and we are fortunate to be part of that culture. We owe our success to the dedication of our students, coaches, alumni and administration. In our grit, we find our glory — not in awards and trophies, but in the pursuit of knowledge, eloquence and truth.”
Speech and debate is part of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information on the department or the speech and debate team, click here.