BY REBEKAH PIZANA
Patrick Henry College
On October 6 and 7, the Patrick Henry College debate team closed out the Crossfire division at the first of the National Educational Debate Association [NEDA] fall tournaments at St. Peter’s College in New Jersey.
PHC swept the Crossfire preliminaries, with Kirsten Winston and Caleb Dalton placing first in the team debates and Winston placing first in speaker awards. For Varsity, Isaiah McPeak and Rachel Blum placed first in teams and Blum placed first speaker. For Novice, Nathaniel Yellis and Jessica Wagner placed third and Yellis placed first speaker.
The new debaters are holding their own, with two freshmen winning top awards in Crossfire and four placing in Varsity. “This year’s team is really amazing,” debater April Wright said. Isaiah McPeak also appreciates the new talent, “I think this new NEDA team has some of the most talented freshmen PHC has had,” he said.
“Everybody on the team this year fits together, they have the same vision,” Coach Brian Wright said. “We were the top team in the league last year; the challenge is holding that position with class, diplomacy, and humility.”
As a former PHC debater, Wright stresses that the main reason for their success is the college’s curriculum and its professors. “The quality of the education that these students receive puts them in a strong position to do well,” Wright said.
Freshman Rachel Blum felt like she was “part of a family of sorts” this past weekend. “The van ride was pretty hilarious with Rachel Blum and Nathaniel Yellis blaring a monotony of Switchfoot and who knows what else,” McPeak said.
Blum enjoyed this team bonding time. “It was kind of cool to get to be the DJ with the iPod,” she said.
PHC’s next tournament is on October 20-22 at Anderson University in Indiana.