The MU Debate Team was successful in more than one way last month at the National Forensics Association Lincoln-Douglas Debate Championship at the University of Akron in Ohio.
Nick Dudley advanced past about 90 debaters from all over the country, winning the national championship.
Dudley, who had been involved in debate since he was in high school, said he had come close to winning a state championship a few times but never thought about what it meant to win a national championship.
“It’s nice to actually seal the deal and get a sense of closure,” he said.
The Lincoln-Douglas debate format, derived from the pre-Civil War debates between Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas, requires debaters to develop a policy that could be implemented in response to a specific case.
The team, in only its second year, entered three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in the competition. The freshmen — Kyle Dennis, Chance Harp and Tyler Landes — made it past the preliminary rounds of the tournament and finished in the top 32 debaters.
Junior Chris Shaw, who is part of the No. 1 ranked parliamentary team, or two-person debate form, in the nation this year with Dudley, advanced to the quarterfinals.
The team became the first team ever to advance all five of its debaters to elimination rounds at the national tournament, Banks said.
Harp credited the team’s success to coaches Banks and Jeremy Hollingshead, both law students. “They can’t compete anymore,” he said, “but they shell out their money and time, on top of their studies, because they love it.”