The Cardinal Debate squad from William Jewell College is ranked No. 4 in the nation, according to the National Parliamentary Debate Association rankings. Over 200 colleges and universities make up the list, with rankings based on tournament performances at a squad’s top four tournaments for the year.
The rankings were released this week after Jewell dominated a field of 18 colleges and universities at the University of Central Missouri debate tournament November 6-7. Jewell defeated McKendree University to win the senior division and took third place in overall sweepstakes. All five Jewell teams competed in the senior division and qualified for the awards bracket after going 4-2 or better in preliminary rounds. Heather Swadley and Abby Thomas won the tournament. Top speaker was Jimmy Stuart. He received the highest number of speaker points among 78 debaters competing at the tournament. Finishing as semifinalists were Kyle Mellon and Nichole Latimer, and Jimmy Stuart and Michael LaCombe.
The weekend tops a semester of excellence for the squad, which has made its mark by winning a number of awards at tournaments nationwide. Every Jewell debater has won awards this season, most multiple times. Highlights include:
• Second place finish by Tim Brooks and Kyle Mellon at Colorado College, October 23-25. Brooks and Mellon narrowly lost to reigning national champions Texas Tech University after defeating teams from the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of Wyoming and Carroll College in the awards bracket.
• Heather Swadley has won three speaker awards in senior division tournaments.
• Andrew Potter won 4th speaker at Colorado College.
• Jewell debaters have won three of four junior varsity tournaments.
Dr. Gina Lane, director of debate, notes that the team members are primarily first- and second-year debaters with no seniors on the squad. “For them to already have this level of success on the debate circuit is quite impressive,” she says. “I also want to point out the excellent work of our Assistant Coach Kevin Garner. As both an alumnus and 2007 national debate champion, he gives 110% to this squad, and they love him for it.”