Mercer Debaters Sweep Top Speaker Honors at Mile High Swing Tournaments


MACON – Mercer University senior Kyle Bligen was named the top overall speaker at the 12th annual Mile High Swing, the nation's largest parliamentary debate competition outside of nationals.

The “Swing,” held Jan. 4-7 on the campus of the University of Utah, was divided into two halves each consisting of a complete parliamentary debate tournament and featuring more than 120 debaters from institutions such as Rice University, Western Washington University, William Jewell College, the University of Oregon and the University of California, Berkeley.

During the first half, hosted by Texas Tech University, senior Jaz Buckley was named first-place speaker, and Bligen was named third-place speaker. As a team, Buckley and Bligen reached the octofinals round.

During the second half, hosted by the University of Utah, Bligen was named first-place speaker, and he and Buckley reached the semifinals, prior to Bligen being named top speaker across both tournaments.

“There is no way to overstate the significance of these victories,” said Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “Unlike in athletics, there are no divisions in debate, meaning that any school can compete against any other school in the nation. What these victories prove is that a student from Mercer can compete – and win – against a student from any other college or university in the nation. To become first-place speaker Jaz and Kyle had to defeat over 120 other undergraduates from around the entire nation, and they did it twice.”