By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor (Photo: Scot Loyd/The Bison)
Although the new semester may present many challenges to students, the Oklahoma Baptist University Debate team has no problem finding their successful groove again.
Over the weekend, the OBU Debate team traveled to Norman to compete at Oklahoma University. After a series of rounds, the OBU competitors came home with many accomplishments.
Anna Chandler took second place in the tournament. Chase Chastain ended as a semi-finalist. The quarter-finalists were Josh Knox, Arielle Chastain and Meagan Hill. Josh Knox was also the first speaker and Avry Wood took the title of the third speaker.
After only a year of competing, the OBU Debate team has been ranked fifth in the nation. However, with two tournaments left before the National Tournament in March, the Novice team has a goal to be ranked as third in the nation. Not only is there a goal to move up in ranking, but also in divisions.
“As we move up, the goal is to have a novice team, a junior varsity team, a varsity team and a professional team,” assistant professor of communication studies and director of forensics and debate, Scot Loyd said.
“The way our league works is you can win an overall championship if you’re competing in all divisions. Right now, because were just starting the team, we just have a novice division. Eventually, as these [students] continue in their career here at OBU we’ll have all those divisions covered.”
The OBU Debate team is part of the International Public Debate Association. This Association was created in 1997 and strives to give individuals the opportunity to grow in their communication and advocacy skills. There are four divisions within the association: Novice, Junior Varsity, Varsity and Professional.
After eight tournaments, a Novice competitor will move up into the junior varsity division.
The OBU team had four competitors move up over the course of this past weekend: Chase Chastain, Arielle Chastain, Jennifer Pensamiento-Hilton and Avry Wood. With this new promotion, these competitors will be competing on a different level.
“I’m excited for them,” Loyd said. “They’re a little apprehensive because they’re moving up to a harder division, but a lot of competitors that they’ve seen on the circuit are moving up as well because everybody is limited to those eight tournaments. When they move up, they have other people move up with them. Obviously when you move to the next level, you’ve got people that are finishing up in Junior Varsity that you might have to compete against. That can make it a little harder.”