The OBU debate Team won second place in their first ever virtual debate tournament. The event was hosted by Lee College in Houston, Texas, Sept. 19 and 20, but held online only due to concerns over COVID-19. The annual “Mendoza Debates at Lee College” featured 21 debate programs from across the country and opened the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) season for the academic year.
OBU debaters were privileged to utilize the Bailey Business Center on the OBU campus to participate in the virtual event. The competition took place Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 20, ending at 4 p.m.
The OBU Debate team fielded 13 competitors across four divisions of competitive debate. As a team, OBU placed second in the tournament, defeating a perennial favorite, Louisiana State University from Shreveport.
In the novice division, freshman Caitlin Hurlbut was first speaker and finished in the top eight out of 29 individual competitors. Sydney Collier earned a fourth-place speaker award.
Junior Violet Webber finished in the top eight out of 27 individual competitors in the junior varsity division.
In the varsity division, junior Emma Busby was fifth speaker, finishing in the top 16 out of 48 competitors. Busby also posted a perfect 6-0 record in preliminary rounds, not losing a single round.
In the professional division, debate team advisor Scot Loyd, assistant professor of communication studies and director of forensics and debate, finished as a finalist and fourth speaker out of a field of 12 competitors.
“I think this is a great way to start the year,” he said. “Even though we would prefer to debate in person on site, the technology affords us the opportunity to continue to compete with programs from across the country. The virtual format gives our students opportunities to sharpen their persuasive and communication skills in the new realities of a world amid a pandemic. I believe that these experiences will further prepare our students for whatever their future may hold.”