Jewell Debate shines at inaugural Texas Two-Step


Four Jewell debaters competed at the University of North Texas “Texas Two-Step” Jan. 3-7. The “swing” tournament challenges competitors with two complete tournaments and takes the place of a traditional mid-season tournament that was considered one of the most rigorous competitions of the year before nationals. 

Seniors Ethan Hawn and Haley Uttley, currently ranked fifth in the nation, won the first tournament on a 2-1 decision over the second-ranked team in the country. In the second tournament, the duo fell to the first-ranked team in the country. Ethan was voted the 12th best speaker of both tournaments, and Haley was ranked second in both tournaments and was named Top Overall Debater. This is the first major national tournament the team has won. Haley and Ethan became the first Jewell duo to win either half of this mid-season tournament since 2007 and the first to reach the final round of either tournament since eventual National Parliamentary Debate Association national champions David Hansen and Katelyn Johnson in 2016. Ethan and Haley are the fourth national team to reach the final round of both halves of the tournament, and the other three teams have each won at least one national championship tournament in the ensuing spring.

The team of first-year students Tavarus Pennington and Kenton Fox earned a 3-3 record at the first tournament, advancing to the octofinals before being eliminated by the top seed.