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HPU debaters score several awards at championship tournament

SSB Team PhotoBROWNWOOD – December 2, 2016 – Howard Payne University debaters Christopher Freeland and Tyler Olin were semifinalists in parliamentary debate at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship tournament held recently in Tyler. HPU competed against 23 universities.

The team of Freeland, sophomore biochemistry and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Bangs, and Olin, sophomore social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major from Howe, boosted the team’s overall rankings, allowing HPU to win second place in debate sweepstakes and fifth place in overall sweepstakes. Olin was also named top novice speaker in parliamentary debate.

Braxton Clark, senior social science global studies major from Southlake, was awarded third place overall debate speaker, and Isaac Sommers, senior social science jurisprudence and Guy D. Newman Honors Academy major, was named ninth place top debate speaker.

“Our team did exceptionally well,” said Dr. Julie Welker, Student Speaker Bureau team coach, professor of communication and chair of HPU’s Department of Communication Studies. “I’m proud of the way our team performed, and we are continuing to prepare for upcoming tournaments.”

Gabi McWhirter, senior theatre major from Brownwood, won fourth place in novice dramatic interpretation, and freshman Madi Neal, social science jurisprudence major from Chandler, won third place in novice impromptu speaking.

“Gabi and Madi are both new to our team and I’m thrilled at their excellent performances,” said Dr. Welker. “Breaking into novice finals at the fall championship tournament is always difficult, and these two competitors did a fantastic job at competition.”

HPU students also competed in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate format. Clark, Olin and Sommers all advanced to competition out-rounds. Clark won second place, Olin won third place and Sommers won fourth place in IPDA debate. HPU had three of the top four final places at the meet.

Students on the team also competed in individual events, including extemporaneous speaking (current events), impromptu speaking, prose, poetry, informative speaking, dramatic interpretation, duo interpretation and persuasive speaking.

Also competing were team members Morgan Ashmore, senior communication major from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, junior biology major from Lytle; Erin Haley, freshman communication major from Mason; Mike Hord, freshman political science and social science jurisprudence major from Montgomery; Reagan Grisham, junior communication major from Arlington; Aimee Orozco, junior communication major from Shepherd; Isabelle Stahrfisher, freshman communication major from Fort Worth; and Haylee Williams, freshman communication major from Bellville.

The HPU team will next travel to Texas A&M University in February.


Cutline: HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau brought home several awards from a recent championship tournament. Pictured from left are: Dr. Julie Welker, Morgan Ashmore, Braxton Clark, Aimee Orozco, Isabella Stahrfisher, Madison Neal, Christopher Freeland, Gabi McWhirter, Erin Haley, Brooklyn Britton, Isaac Sommers, Andrea Balderas, Haylee Williams, Reagan Grisham, Tyler Olin and Ms. Sidni Kirby.

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