McKendree Debaters Take 1st and 2nd Place in Denver

Four Teams Earn Bids to Nationals

Lebanon, Ill. — The McKendree University debate team turned in its best performance of the year, and possibly the best regular season performance in the program’s history, at the Mile High Swing tournament held in Denver Jan. 18 to 20. McKendree debaters closed out the final round of the first half of the tournament and reached semifinals of the second half. In addition, McKendree took third place in school sweepstakes.

“This was an excellent overall team performance,” said Joe Blasdel, coach. “This tournament is the biggest and best tournament of the year. For Mat Myles, Ben Reid, Ian Reynolds, and Brad Thomas to win it - without losing a single round – is an incredible accomplishment. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The 26 participating colleges and universities included the University of Oregon, Texas Tech University, the University of Washington, and Southern Illinois University.  In all, more than 80 teams and 160 individual debaters competed. Representing McKendree were seniors Ben Reid and Ian Reynolds; and juniors Lucas Barker, Alex Cunningham, Sarah DeBruyckere, Mat Myles, Brent Nicholson, and Brad Thomas.

At the first half, the Myles-Thomas and Reid-Reynolds teams posted 5-0 records in prelims. In elimination rounds, Myles-Thomas triumphed over teams from Concordia University, William Jewell College, Kansas City Community College and Whitman College. Reid/Reynolds thwarted the following teams in elimination rounds: Washburn University, Lewis & Clark College, and Southern Illinois University’s A and B teams. Prior to the Mile High, SIU’s A team (currently the first place team in the country) had won all of their previous tournaments. As a result, the tournament was declared a closeout, with McKendree taking first and second place. In addition, Barker-DeBruyckere went 4-1 and finished as double-octofinalists. Reid was recognized as the 12th place speaker, while Myles finished 15th.

At the second half of the tournament, Myles-Thomas went 4-1. In elimination rounds, they vanquished the following teams: Concordia University, Whitman College (C team), and Whitman College (A team), finishing as semifinalists. Reid-Reynolds went 3-2 and finished as double-octofinalists after defeating Western Washington University in elimination rounds. Barker- DeBruyckere went 3-2 and finished as triple-octofinalists. Myles was the first place speaker in a field of more than 160 competitors.

Finally, McKendree University received four first round bids to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence: Myles-Thomas, Reid-Reynolds, Barker-DeBruyckere, and Cunningham-Nicholson.

“This is the first time in school history that McKendree has earned four first round bids,” Blasdel said.

McKendree will compete next at Webster University’s Gorlok Gala, Jan.25-27.