National Speech and Debate Tournament

Friday, March 8, 2013, 7:00 am - Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 8:00 pm
John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas

In a cost cutting effort the PLNU speech team took only four students to the Christian College National Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by John Brown University in Siloam Springs Arkansas this past week.  But those few students did an amazing job.   the Freshman debate team of Brandon West and Josh Gilbert were named tournament Champions in the Senior Division after winning their Quarters, Semis and Final rounds.  They were also named First and Third Place Speakers in debate respectively.  Also noteworthy is Daniel Robert Spencer's Third Place Award in the Senior Division of Lincoln Douglass Debate in his first time competing in the event.


The team was supposed to return from this five day trip Tuesday, March 12. However, our plane could not land at Lindbergh Field late last night due to heavy fog.  So following an aborted touch down on or near the runway and a gut wrenching power climb at the last second with engines roaring at full throttle like in a bad adventure film, we were diverted to Ontario Airport.  After being told they were trying to find accommodations for us there overnight, I commandeered a local shuttle van with a driver that still looked awake and we rolled back into San Diego after 2:00 a.m., which due to time zone changes, the loss of an hour with daylight savings time, and very little sleep over the last week, it seemed much, much later.  Special thanks to Professor and Assistant Coach Lorina Schrauger who shared in this adventure, and Assistant Director Melissa Lazaro who put many hours into preparing for this event and so many others.

I wanted to thank you all for supporting these students, and the team. By the way, these new National Champions were recruited from the home school speech and debate community, as was the last PLNU freshman team we had that won this championship three years ago. It is through all the work our campus does in hosting events for this Christian home school speech and debate community that we can add such talented hard working students to our Point Loma community and our forensics (speech and debate) team.  We are also very grateful to our alumni for their generous support of the team to help raise funds to attend this and two other National Championship tournaments.

Here are the specific awards won.

Josh Gilbert and Brandon West.    Open Parliamentary Debate -    First Place -  National Champions


Open Parliamentary Debate Speaker Awards:
Brandon West   First Place
Josh Gilbert. Second Place


Individual Event Awards:
Daniel Robert Spencer     -  Sr Division NFA Lincoln Douglass  Debate Semi Finalist (3rd Place)
                                                    -  Open Impromptu Semifinalist
Josh Gilbert.                         -  Novice Impromptu 6th place
                                                   -  Novice Informative 4th Place

Brandon West.                     - Sr Division NFA Lincoln Douglass Debate 2nd Place
                                                   - Novice Impromptu 4th Place
                                                   - Novice After Dinner Speaking 6th Place.


Team Co-president Sydney Awakuni and her partner Daniel Robert Spencer missed advancing to Parliamentary Debate Quarter Finals by just one ballot.

But Sydney received quite an honor a few days ago.  She has been selected by the National Parliamentary Debate Association as one of only three students to be on the American team as they debate the National Irish Champions at the NPDA Debate Championship in two weeks at the University of The Pacific in a demonstration debate for the entire association. More details on that to follow.