Bison debate team celebrates success

Chelsea Weeks, Assistant News Editor

Oklahoma Baptist University has been known to succeed in athletic sports, job acceptance and nursing students passing the NCLEX. OBU’s success is now getting noticed in a new field. The field of debate.

OBU’s Debate team was victorious during their tournament on October 28th at Louisiana State University Shreveport, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Out of the 11 competitors who attended, nine of them proceeded to win preliminary rounds. The team received fifth place overall and is currently ranked number two in the nation for novice debating.

Abby Black, Josh Knox, Seth Moles, Avry Wood, and Arielle Heiser finished in the top 32 competitors as a double octofinalists.

Anna Chandler and Jennifer Pensamiento-Hilton finished in the top 16 competitors as octofinalists.

Not only did Arielle finish as a double octofinalist, but also received fourth place in individual impromptu speaking and top novice speaker.

Chase Chastain is the captain of the team and is holding a perfect 6-0 record. He finished the tournament in the final four as a semifinalist and out of 63 competitors, he received the top speaker.

“Everyone on our team is improving by a substantial amount and we are very happy with the success we are having at tournaments,” Chastain said. “We have only been around for two years and OBU already has a strong reputation among the IPDA circuit.”

Chase Chastain, a junior communications studies major, joined the team his sophomore year because he liked to compete. The debate team has helped him develop professional skills in speaking and critical thinking.

“As far as my personal success in debate goes, it all comes down to hard work,” Chastain said. “Winning all six rounds in preliminary rounds is a great feeling, and here is why: it is a clear way to see your hard work paying off. Last year my record was not impressive what so ever, but eventually after practice and hard work, it will all pay off.”

Anna Chandler, a senior communications studies major, joined the team when it first started and enjoys learning new things and being able to organize them into cohesive thoughts. She described the tournament as crazy, but rewarding.

“We started debating at 11:00 a.m. and kept debating until almost 9:00 p.m.,” Chandler said. “It’s a non-stop kind of thing and it takes a lot of energy. It’s so rewarding to see the progress we’ve made.”

At the beginning of a tournament, competitors are assigned to a certain category; novice, junior varsity, varsity or professional. They then will proceed through different rounds; preliminary rounds, out rounds and single elimination.

During the rounds, the competitor is assigned either affirmative or negative. They will receive a topic and have only 30 minutes to get information and prepare. The affirmative and negative competitors will then present their cases and rebuttal. The winner will then continue onto the next round.

Chandler recalled the first tournament she went to and how only three competitors out of nine broke into a new round.

“It’s really rewarding to be able to help the new members learn how to make logical arguments, and feel confident in their speaking abilities,” Chandler said. “It’s really cool for me to see not only how much we’ve have grown as a team, but how much we’ve grown individually. It’s awesome to know that we have the talent, and I’m excited to see how much more we will grow and learn.”

Scot Loyd, assistant professor of communication studies and director of forensics and debate, started the debate team when he was hired in the fall of 2016.

“I’m thankful for all the support we have received from OBU,” Loyd said. “What we do would not be possible without the support of Dr. Ellis, Dean Matthews and the entire OBU administration and staff. I’m humbled that we have been able to achieve so much, and I’m especially grateful to our debaters, who I treat as scholar athletes, for their hard work and willingness to engage with a diverse world.”

The next tournament will be Nov. 10-11 at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas.

“OBU Debate is on a clear path to success, and seeing improvements in all areas in my own personal endeavors and also in our team is extremely rewarding,” Chastain said.






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