The William Jewell debate squad ended regular season competition with a major victory, winning the Missouri State Championship held recently at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. This year marked the fifth year running that a debate team from William Jewell won the competition. As a result of the success by all debaters, Jewell won the Top Debate School award for the second year in a row.
Spencer Shanks (sophomore, Kearney, Mo.) and Tyler White (junior, Independence, Mo.) unanimously defeated a team from the University of Central Missouri in the championship round to win the state tournament. The team of Shanks and White won their second tournament in a row after emerging victorious at Webster University earlier this year, making this their third tournament win of the season.
“Spencer and Tyler are developing into one of the best-rounded debate teams in the entire country,” said Kevin Garner, assistant debate coach. “This team has the unique ability to adapt to any given situation. Three tournament wins in a season is tough to achieve, and the two worked hard to accomplish this success.”
Other Jewell teams also made strong showings. Ben Boggs (first year, Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Maigan Bridgette (first year, Leavenworth, Kan.) placed third. The team of Kyle Mellon (junior, Norman, Okla.) and Matt Reisener (junior, Indianola, Iowa) and Stephen Ahal (first year, Chesterfield, Mo.) and Rosemary Loehr (junior, Kansas City, Mo.) advanced to the quarterfinal round of competition. Mellon earned the fourth-best individual speaker award and Reisener the fifth-best individual speaker award. Combined, the squad won the Top Debate School award for the second year in a row.
“The amazing part of the victory at the state tournament is that we will not be losing any of our team members to graduation this year,” said Garner. “This bodes well for our success in coming years, and I could not think of a better way to head into the national tournaments.”
Four Jewell teams received bids to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, which gives bids to only the top 64 teams in the nation out of over 850. The teams will then compete at the National Parliamentary Debate Association national tournament. Both tournaments will be at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., March 17-25.
William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant community sparked by a rigorous and intentional liberal arts curriculum. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college’s location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than two million.