Seniors Kevin Garner and Luke Landry are the champions of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence after defeating top-seeded UC-Berkeley in finals on the issue of whether France should send election monitors to Algeria. Garner was top speaker for the tournament and Landry was second. They qualified for the elimination round bracket with an 11-1 record. The tournament, held March 17-18 at the University of Wyoming, invites the top 56 parliamentary debate teams in the nation from all colleges and universities regardless of size to compete at this elite event.
“Kevin and Luke came together this semester and automatically became one of the top teams in the nation,” said Dr. Gina Lane, director of debate. “That speaks volumes not only about the caliber of this team, but also about the respect and support the debate community has for both Kevin and Luke.” Garner and Landry never finished less than second place at any of the pre-nationals tournaments they attended.
Jewell’s second team to qualify, James Luce, junior, and Jake Williams, sophomore, qualified for the elimination round bracket with a 7-5 record before losing to UC-Berkeley and Southern Illinois University.
One week later, William Jewell traveled to Colorado Springs for the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships. The open invitational tournament, held March 22-25, brought together 238 teams from 81 college and universities. William Jewell debaters Garner and Landry were 7-1 in preliminary rounds, qualifying as the third seed in the elimination round bracket. After defeating teams from Western Washington and Colorado College, they narrowly lost to Colorado College’s top team in octafinals. At the awards ceremony, Garner was named one of six All-American NPDA debaters, an award based on debating excellence, academics, and community service. Garner and Landry nearly repeated their top two speaker rankings of the weekend before, with Landry winning second overall speaker and Garner taking third out of 476 debaters.
Jewell debaters Luce and Williams also qualified for the elimination rounds with a 5-3 preliminary round record, defeating Wheaton College in the quad-octafinals round before losing to the second-place team from Creighton University in triple-octafinals. Paige Oster and Eric Myers finished their first national tournament with a 3-5 record.
“This two-week national tournament run is a gauntlet of sorts,” Dr. Lane said. “After a grueling two days of non-stop debating at the NPTE, the debaters had only four days off to prepare for the NPDA Championships. Our top two debate teams gave us peak performances, and for Garner and Landry to take such high speaker awards is indicative of the excellence of their debating. It has been such an honor to work with them.”
The national tournaments topped off another superb year of debating for William Jewell, including competition at Oxford University in the U.K. for seniors Garner, Landry and Lilia Toson. The squad also welcomed the addition of Dr. Charles Walts, associate director of debate. “His expertise in debate theory and work in coaching the team has been invaluable this year,” Dr. Lane said.