Speech, debate celebrate top-10 national finishes

· 3 min read

Speech, debate celebrate top-10 national finishes

The Husker debate team that placed fifth at nationals included (from left) Britnee Hart, Jackson Slechta, Ashley Holland, Zach Hadenfeldt, Colten White and Jackson Slechta.
Courtesy photo
The Husker debate team that finished fifth in the nation included (from left) Britnee Hart, Jackson Slechta, Ashley Holland, Zach Hadenfeldt, Colten White and Zach Thornhill.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln speech and debate teams finished their 146th season placing eighth and fifth in the nation, respectively.

For the 10th straight year, the speech team finished in the nation’s top 10 at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament. It was in the Top 20 for the 22nd straight year. The team competed nationally at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., April 1-3, among 72 schools.

“Sustaining success is the true mark of excellence,” said Aaron Duncan, speech and debate program director. “I am so proud of our students and coaches because they all worked very hard to accomplish this goal.”

Courtesy photo
The Husker speech team placed eighth nationally.

The top 10 percent of student speakers nationally qualify to compete at the tournament and the top 15 percent of those select students advance to elimination rounds. Seventeen Huskers qualified for the tournament in 58 events and six students advanced to elimination rounds.

Representatives from Nebraska’s debate team captured fifth place at the National Forensics Association’s Tournament of Champions April 13-17 at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

First-year student Brintee Hart won the Novice National Championship in Lincoln Douglas Debate and the university also advanced four students to elimination rounds in the varsity division of Lincoln Douglas Debates, amassing a combined record of 22-14. Husker debaters were lead by sophomore Colten White, who finished with a record of 5-1 and who was named the eighth-best speaker in the nation. Seniors Jackson Slechta and Zach Hadenfeldt and first-year student Zach Thornhill each amassed records of 4-2 and advanced to elimination rounds.

“This is the hardest working collection of debaters we have ever had. They worked extremely hard this season and spent countless hours researching and preparing for this tournament,” Duncan said. “It was exciting to see their hard work rewarded.”

The speech and debate team is part of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“It is impossible not to be moved by the dedication and excellence of these student speakers and their coaches,” Dawn O. Braithwaite, chair of Communication Studies, said. “This program is the oldest student activity at the university and these students remind us that the future is indeed bright.”

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