Campus News

Debate team has strong first year

By Rachel Levy, Reporter

Photo by Matthew Corr

Photo by Matthew Corr

Shenandoah University’s newly-instated debate team, led by Matthew Corr, had a successful first year.

The debate team travelled to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for their first tournament in early October, competing in the Claude Francois Poullart des Places Debates. They faced nearly 60 teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Indiana, and Michigan. The competition included six rounds over two days.

In Pittsburgh, four students helped bring home six trophies. Matthew Laird and Tyler Fisher placed third out of 30 in Crossfire, and second and third respectively for individual awards.

For the long format debate, Zadok Miller and Daniel Hillgren finished top five together out of 30 teams. They also finished first and second, respectively, in individual speaking points.

In late October, the team sent Miller and Hillgren to the Harold E. Achor Debate Tournament at Anderson University in Indiana. Matthew Corr, debate team coach, said they, “learned a lot from the last debate.”

Hillgren, a senior business major, said after the tournament that their “arguments have become stronger and [their] confidence in [their] speaking has become stronger.” They proved this by placing third overall against over 50 other teams.  

They also placed second and third overall in individual speaker awards. Last year’s national champion, David Herman was the only competitor to beat them.

“They truly embody what public forum debate is all about,” Corr said. “They are underdogs but plan on winning.”

The team does not meet often, but when they do it is intensive. Hillgren has “learned so much about argumentation,” from their time together, he said.

Despite its short existence, the team is “representing our school in ways that should make us all proud,” said Corr. “Stay tuned… we’re just getting warmed up!”

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