MACON – Mercer University’s debate team traveled to its second competition of the 2018-2019 season, the Chicken and Egg Debate Tournament, at the University of North Georgia on Sept. 28-30 in Gainesville.
Senior Cassie Malcolm was named first-place speaker at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) format tournament, while sophomore Madison Moore was fifth-place speaker and senior Garrett Williams was 10th-place speaker.
Two of the team’s varsity pairings – Malcolm and Williams, as well as Moore and sophomore Ty Gramling – advanced to the semifinal round.
Additionally, novice pairing Cameron Dawkins and Yasmeen Hill, both sophomores competing in their first-ever debate tournament, were part of a four-way, first-place tie in their division.
“This competition served as an opportunity for the entire team to refine their voices and warm up, per say, for the rest of the season,” said assistant coach Kyle Bligen, who took over head coaching duties in place of director of debate Dr. Vasile Stanescu for this tournament.
Currently, there are more than a dozen debaters on the team, the largest group in recent years.
“It was a pleasure watching as novices and veterans, alike, competed with a championship pedigree,” Bligen added.
The assistant coach said this season will provide a unique set of challenges for these debaters, who will need to navigate tournaments with a competitive edge, knowing that other universities are eager to compete with a Mercer team that produced the reigning NPDA national champions.
Last spring, Bligen and Jaz Buckley, who both graduated in May, capped off their collegiate careers as the most decorated debaters in the University’s history by winning the 22nd annual NPDA National Championship Tournament at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
This year’s team will have its next opportunity to compete Oct. 26-29 at Yale.