JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 7, 2008 – Union University freshman Emily Welborn won the Individual Novice Championship at the Boll Weevil Debates Oct. 4 in Monticello, Ark.
Hosted by the University of Monticello, the nine-team tournament was the first competition for Union’s new debate team.
“This was an excellent showing for a first-ever tournament,” said debate team coach Web Drake. “I think this bodes well for the future of Union Debate. We performed strongly from top to bottom.”
Each tournament consists of six rounds of debates followed by a single-elimination tournament, where seeding is based on the results of the preliminary rounds. Welborn, of Harrisburg, Ill., went 4-2 in the preliminary rounds before reeling off four wins in a row to capture the title.
Competitions are generally judged by untrained judges, usually students from the host school. The debaters get their topics 30 minutes before their rounds, and topics range from world and national politics to sports, economics, philosophy, history and pop culture.
In addition to Welborn, seven other Union students participated in the tournament. Competing in the novice division were Kate Conkling, a senior from Evansville, Ky.; Kristin Tisdale, a freshman from Hendersonville, Tenn.; Aaron Brown, a freshman from Owensboro, Ky.; Betsy Davis, a sophomore from Henderson, Ky.; Jordan Hughey, a freshman from Little Rock, Ark.; and Andrew Roberts, a freshman from Hendersonville, Tenn.
Ben Fulton, a freshman from Evansville, Ind., competed in the varsity division. Drake and Mandisa Wofford, a sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., served as the team’s judges.
Conkling and Tisdale also advanced past the preliminary competition to the tournament. Conkling was 5-1 and won two elimination rounds before losing in the semifinals. Tisdale advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Welborn.
The debate team’s next competition will be Nov. 7-9 at the Lumberjack Classic at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.