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HPU debaters win big at home tournament

SSB at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – February 23, 2016 – Howard Payne University debaters Braxton Clark, junior from Southlake, and Isaac Sommers, junior from Boerne, won the open parliamentary debate division at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Spring Championship tournament held at Howard Payne University February 5-7. HPU hosted and competed against 22 teams from 16 colleges and universities.

Clark was named to the Texas All-State Forensics Squad, a prestigious group of students who are nominated by coaches and meet stringent criteria including win/loss records in speech and debate, grade-point average, community service and leadership.

Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, directs HPU’s Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) speech and debate team.

“Braxton has been a tremendous leader for SSB over the last two years,” she said. “His leadership has helped to grow our team as he has taken an active role in coaching the freshmen and sophomores.”

Clark also won sixth place top debate speaker and Sommers was named 10th place top debate speaker.

Students on the team also competed in individual events, including extemporaneous speaking (current events), impromptu speaking, prose, poetry, informative speaking and persuasive speaking. Also competing were team members Morgan Ashmore, senior from Weatherford; Andrea Balderas, junior from Lytle; Christopher Freeland, sophomore from Bangs; Reagan Grisham, sophomore from Arlington; and Aimee Orozco, sophomore from Shepherd.

“Our team did exceptionally well,” said Dr. Welker. “Braxton and Isaac fought hard to advance and their victory was well earned. I’m proud of the way our team performed and we are continuing to prepare for upcoming tournaments.”

Student Speaker Bureau hosted the three-day tournament on the HPU campus. Almost 200 competitors, judges and coaches were on campus for the weekend.

HPU will travel to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif., in March to compete in the National Christian College Forensics Association national championship tournament.


Photo cutline: HPU Student Speaker Bureau members that competed in a tournament on the HPU campus earlier this month included, from left, Isaac Sommers, Braxton Clark, Morgan Ashmore, Reagan Grisham, Andrea Balderas and Christopher Freeland. Not pictured is team member Aimee Orozco.