The University of Nebraska-Lincoln speech and debate team won its seventh-consecutive Big Ten title at the Conference Challenge Tournament, held Jan. 21 at Nebraska.
The Huskers led the field with 145 points, ahead of second-place Northwestern University’s 117 points. In addition to the team championship, Nebraska captured six of 11 individual Big Ten titles.
The team’s victory was led by senior co-captain Mattison Merritt of Lincoln, who was named top individual speaker at the tournament. The second and third overall speaker awards went to junior Becca Human of Gretna and senior co-captain Sam Baue of Columbus.
Merritt took individual titles in after-dinner speaking, dramatic interpretation, and duo interpretation with her partner, sophomore Mia Virgillito of Gretna. This was Merritt’s third straight conference win in dramatic interpretation and the eighth individual title of her career. Fellow senior co-captain Chloe Meier of Roca won top honors in prose interpretation. Human also won persuasive speaking and sophomore Jordan Duffin Wong of Kearney won impromptu speaking.
“We have great students here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” Aaron Duncan, speech and debate director, said. “They work hard, they sacrifice and they care about each other and this team.”
Merritt credited the win to the commitment of every team member.
“It’s amazing being part of a team that’s committed to supporting each other whether it be while running events in our team room or performing in a final round,” Merritt said.
The speech and debate teams have been competing since September and are preparing for national tournaments, which will be held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in April.