The Samford Debate Team dominated the American Debate Association National Championship at Emory University on March 5-7. Grace Blackwell and Abi McKibben won against teams all across the Southeast under the leadership of Professor Ryan Galloway, Director of Debate at Samford.
“This is our first time winning novice nationals and I’m incredibly proud not only of Grace and Abi but our entire squad for supporting them,” Galloway said.
Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Debate Team was unified, focused and determined to achieve victory against their competitors.
For those unfamiliar with the format of a debate competition, Galloway helped explain the process.
“A debate competition is a lot like a sports tournament, like the NCAA,” Galloway said. “There are six preliminary rounds, and the team alternates rounds defending and opposing the topic. At the completion of the preliminary rounds, teams with a winning record advance to an NCAA type bracket, where it is win or go home. Our team had to win four consecutive elimination debates to win the tournament.”
In order to prepare for the competition, the debate squad collaborated to strategize various methods and arguments that would work against their opponents. Although tensions were high, their hard work and fierce determination paid off.
The team is currently ranked fourth in the country. Galloway and the rest of the squad are excited to see what the future holds, and are determined to win another National Championship soon to maintain their national title in the top 10 debate squads.