BROWNWOOD – September 8, 2021 – Howard Payne University’s Student Speaker Bureau speech and debate team won their third consecutive Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Championship debate sweepstakes and second place overall sweepstakes. This is the first time in the team’s history to earn back-to-back-to-back debate championships.
Devin Schurman, junior from San Antonio majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, strategic communication and jurisprudence, clinched the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate individual championship and won National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) team debate with partner Landon Chenault, sophomore from Denton majoring in the Honors Academy and jurisprudence. Chenault also notched the top NPDA debate speaker and third IPDA debate speaker.
Schurman had a perfect debate record in the tournament, winning every single round in which he competed.
Dr. Julie Welker, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, coaches the team.
“Devin is our team captain and the driving force behind our team,” Dr. Welker said. “He leads debate practices in the evening and pushes everyone to work harder. His intense work ethic has paid off. This is a first for team HPU, and I could not be more proud of him and the entire team.”
In addition to Chenault, three HPU debaters were ranked speakers. Schurman was sixth in NPDA and fourth in IPDA speaking. Parker Brown, senior from Denton majoring in the Honors Academy and jurisprudence, and Rishona Raub, junior from Celina majoring in the Honors Academy and strategic communication, were seventh and eighth respectively in IPDA debate speaker ranks.
Additionally, Brown was named to the prestigious Texas All-State Forensics Squad. He has competed on the HPU speech and debate team for three years, has won multiple honors in both individual speaking and debate, and holds an overall winning record in debate competition.
Three team members competed in individual events, with Alex Mendoza, senior from Bangs majoring in theatre, winning sixth place in programmed oral interpretation.
Also competing in the tournament were Ben Sartain, junior from San Antonio majoring in strategic communication; Abigail Poling, sophomore from Bangs majoring in theatre; and Jordan Sager, freshman from Norfolk, Nebraska, majoring in kinesiology.
HPU competed against 15 colleges and universities from Texas and was the only Texas Baptist university to earn top honors.
During the fall semester, the team won significant awards at both the Bayou City Swing tournament and the fall TIFA championship tournament.
The HPU speech and debate team will compete in the National Christian College Forensics Association national tournament at Liberty University in March and the International Public Debate Association national tournament at Abilene Christian University in April.
High school students interested in competing on the team should contact Dr. Welker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Auditions are required for membership on the team. All members of the team receive a scholarship based on their previous speech and debate accomplishments.
Cutline 1: Devin Schurman (pictured) of San Antonio won the IPDA debate individual championship and NPDA team debate with partner Landon Chenault.
Cutline 2: In addition to winning the NPDA team debate with partner Devin Schurman, Landon Chenault (pictured) of Denton was named top NPDA debate speaker and third IPDA debate speaker.