On the weekend of March 24, 2017, the Union University debate team brought home the national title from the International Public Debate Association national championship at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR. At the tournament, the team won first place in the novice division, first place speaker in the Junior Varsity, Varsity, and Professional divisions, the Scholastic Sweepstakes, the Founder’s Sweepstakes, and the Overall Tournament Sweepstakes.
For the season, the team earned Novice and Junior Varsity Sweepstakes awards, Junior Varsity Individual Sweepstakes, and the Founders Award for the top team in the nation.
Junior, Ryan Sinni claimed that he “really enjoyed being a part of last year’s team. I feel privileged to debate on a team that both values excellence and puts Christ at the center of all that we do. The debate team has been a place where I can not only learn how to communicate persuasively, but also disciple and be discipled.”
At the championship tournament, Jacob Collins was the winner of the Novice Division. Clark Hubbard was a finalist in the Junior Varsity Division. Garnering top speaker awards in their divisions were Ryan Sinni (Professional), Hubbard (Junior Varsity), and Jacob Mathis (Team).
According to Collins, the debate team “supports, loves and encourages each other from the first meeting to the final awards banquet.” Our team is “a community of individuals from different walks of life, aiming to discover the truth in light of the Truth that has been revealed to us.”
In season-long awards, Hubbard was once again the big winner, taking home the Junior Varsity Season-Long Sweepstakes.
Hubbard says that debate “has been one of my favorite experiences at Union, and has contributed to who I am as a person more than most things I have done throughout college. I don’t know what job I will find myself in post-graduation, but whatever it is, I have no doubt that my years of debate will influence it positively. Many of my closest friends have come from the debate team.”
The schools that the team competed against ranged from small schools to large universities.
Web Drake, chair of the Communication Arts department is the team’s coach.
“This year’s team was a joy,” Drake said. “I think they genuinely loved each other and were passionate about their craft. That enthusiasm resulted in some big things for this team.”