McKendree University Debaters Finish 2nd in the Nation

Team Turns in Best Ever Performances at Two National Tournaments

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University’s Ben Reid and Ian Reynolds advanced to the final round and took second place at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) championship tournament, while the squad took second place in NPDA team sweepstakes. Both were the highest finishes at NPDA in team history. In addition, Reid and Reynolds took third place at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), the highest finish McKendree has had there as well.

“We had an incredible nationals run,” said Joe Blasdel, debate and individual events coach. “This is the best team performance we’ve ever had at NPTE and NPDA – but it’s the research and practice that occurred before the tournaments that made the difference. The students and coaches put in an incredible amount of quality work to prepare for nationals and it clearly paid off.

“It’s also great to see Ben and Ian – two individuals who have represented this team and university with excellence and integrity – finish their careers in a major national final round.”

With one team taking third place and three teams advancing to elimination rounds, McKendree had its best ever showing at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), hosted by the University of Nevada at Reno on March 17-20. Thirty colleges and universities attended, including the University of Oregon, the University of California at Berkeley and Texas Tech University. Four McKendree teams qualified for the NPTE: seniors Reid and Reynolds, and juniors Mat Myles and Brad Thomas, Sarah DeBruyckere and Brent Nicholson, and Lucas Barker and Alex Cunningham.

In preliminary rounds, Reid and Reynolds finished with a 10-2 prelim record. In the first elimination round, they defeated Texas Tech University in a debate over pressuring North Korea on its nuclear weapons program. In the next round, Reid and Reynolds beat Whitman College on the topic of cotton subsidies. In the following round, they triumphed over Concordia University in a debate over Amazon deforestation. In the fourth elim round, they were defeated by Southern Illinois on the topic of tactical nuclear weapons. However, Reid and Reynolds eliminated William Jewell College in the next round in a debate over relations with Venezuela. They proceeded to beat another William Jewell College team in the next round on the topic of missile defense. They were finally eliminated in the semifinal round by Whitman College in a debate over synthetic biology. Reid and Reynolds were recognized as third place team at the tournament.

The team of Myles and Thomas went 8-4 in prelims. They advanced to the fourth elim round, defeating Whitman College and Northern Arizona University to take 15th place. DeBruyckere and Nicholson finished with 7-5 record and advanced to the second elimination round, taking 28th place. Reid was the fifth place speaker, while Reynolds took 17th place.

The NPDA championship tournament was hosted by the University of the Pacific on March 22-25. As a squad, McKendree took second place out of 50 participating schools, which included the University of Miami, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Colorado.

Reid and Reynolds compiled a 6-2 prelim record, advancing to elimination rounds. After beating the University of the Pacific in triple-octofinals, they triumphed over Lewis and Clark College. Reid and Reynolds defeated William Jewell College in octofinals before besting Texas Tech University in quarterfinals. In semifinals, they vanquished Southern Illinois University, before losing to another Southern Illinois team in finals.

Myles and Thomas also went 6-2. After winning against the College of Idaho in triple-octofinals, they beat the University of Nevada in double-octofinals, and finished as octofinalists. DeBruyckere and Nicholson posted a 5-3 record. They finished as double-octofinalists after beating Washburn University in triple-octofinals. Finally, Barker and Cunningham went 5-3 and finished as triple-octofinalists.

McKendree also took fifth place in season sweepstakes. Ian Reynolds was named McKendree’s second All-American recipient – appropriate given his support of American hegemony.

Finally, McKendree also attended the Pi Kappa Delta championship tournament, hosted by Webster University, on March 13-16. Participating were seniors Lance Allen and Darren Meeker; junior Amanda Walker; sophomores Rebecca Blake, Spencer Marcum, and Caleb Vines; and first-year Quinn McRoberts.

Allen took home a Superior award in impromptu speaking as well as an Excellent award in extemporaneous speaking. Marcum took Excellent in both prose and programmed oral interpretation. In novice parliamentary debate, McRoberts and Caleb Vines went 4-2 and took Excellent. McRoberts also went 4-2 in junior Lincoln-Douglas debate and finished as a quarterfinalist. He also took home an Excellent speaker award.

The McKendree University debate and individual events team will conclude its season with Allen and Marcum competing at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET), hosted by Hutchinson Community College on April 5-8