Mercer Debaters Earn Impressive National Victory at Point Loma Round Robin


MACON – Mercer University sophomores Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen once again proved themselves among the top debaters in the country by winning the 19th Annual Point Loma Round Robin, held this past Friday at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.

The invitation-only tournament annually pits the top 10 National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) schools against one another. Along with Mercer, the field included Biola University; Cal State University of Long Beach; Concordia, Irvine; El Camino College; Grand Canyon University; Northern Arizona University; Point Loma Nazarene University; the University of the Pacific; and the University of Utah.

In addition to the first-place team victory, Buckley was named fifth-place individual speaker.

“I could not be more proud of Jaz and Kyle This victory represents a unique combination of hard work, diligence and intellectual prowess. Jaz and Kyle are – quite simply – two of the finest debaters that I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate.

“Moreover, this victory further demonstrates that Mercer educates students capable of achieving national victories. This success does not belong to the debate team alone; it is a reflection of the excellence that Mercer's entire faculty demonstrates every single day.”

Once of the primary reasons the Point Loma Round Robin was begun in 1998 was to gather the top teams across the country for a warm-up of sorts prior to nationals.

Mercer will defend its state championship at the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association tournament Feb. 26-27 at the University of North Georgia, with the NPDA and National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE) tournaments to follow in March.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.