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Patrick Henry College debaters excel at national championship meet

April 3rd, 2001

CONTACT: Rich Jefferson (540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

KANKAKEE, IL—Patrick Henry College debaters concluded a stellar first year in debate competition this past weekend at the NEDA (National Educational Debate Association) national tournament.

Patrick Henry College debaters won eight tournament trophies and the college won an award for an outstanding first year in intercollegiate debate. PHC had three of the four semifinalist teams in the novice division, one of the four semifinal teams in the open division, and one of the two Lincoln-Douglas finalists.

In the novice and Lincoln-Douglas divisions, PHC students won second place. In both divisions, PHC students showed great tenacity as they endured narrow, split decisions from the panel of judges who voted 4-3 in both final rounds.

"We knew our students had what it takes to win, but even this success came sooner than we anticipated," said Michael Farris, president of Patrick Henry College. "We wanted to be highly competitive as soon as possible, but our students dedicated themselves to doing the necessary hard work to excel.

"Only one other college had as many participants in the semifinal rounds as Patrick Henry College, but this is a remarkable achievement when we realize that 10 percent of our entire student body was in the semifinals at the national debate tournament," Farris said.

It was a compelling performance for a college that just opened its doors to its first students in September 2000. The National Educational Debate Association, which sponsored the tournament, gave PHC the special recognition award for this year's outstanding new debate program.

Lincoln-Douglas is a one-on-one format in which novices and experienced debaters compete. Debate teams compete in the novice division if their members have been in fewer than six tournaments.

Jeremy Purves (Visalia, CA), won second place in Lincoln-Douglas, and Eric Papetti (Huntsville, AL), was the second ranked Lincoln-Douglas speaker. Brian von Duyke (Newark, DE), and Aaron Thompson (Phoenix, AZ), won second place in the novice team division, while David McKennett (Port Alsworth, AK), and Patrick Molloy (Porterville, CA), won third place. McKennett also won the second place speaker award in the novice division. Paul McNiel (Morehead City, NC), and James Kimball (High Point, NC), won fourth in the novice division. McNiel won the fifth place speaker award. Melissa Hurter (Honey Brook, PA), and Laurie Wilson (Fresno, CA), won fourth place in the open team division.

The National Educational Debate Association (NEDA), believes "a debate is an exchange that, when witnessed by a member of the general public, would be viewed as comprehensible and enlightening." The resolution was "That the United States should significantly decrease its dependence on foreign oil."