William Jewell College hosted the national opener for college parliamentary debate September 16-18, attracting 20 colleges and universities from 11 states for a weekend of competition on the campus in Liberty, Mo. The schools represented all sizes and types, from community colleges to liberal arts institutions to large universities.
Using the home school advantage to their benefit, the William Jewell debate squad started out the season by dominating the competition. The Jewell squad advanced 15 teams to the elimination rounds with every debater receiving an award, the most of any school. At the Cardinal Classic on September 16-17 , the squad set a school record by advancing eight teams to elimination rounds.
“I could not imagine the weekend going any better,” said Kevin Garner, assistant debate coach. “Our squad is the largest we have ever had, and to see across the board success at the beginning bodes well for the rest of the season.”
Jewell advanced two teams in the open division to the Sweet Sixteen round: David Dingess (senior, Denver, Colo.) and Andrew Potter (senior, Buhler, Kan.) and Kyle Mellon (junior, Norman, Okla.) and Matt Reisener (junior, Indianola, Iowa). Also advancing to elimination rounds in open division were: Stephen Ahal (first year, Chesterfield, Mo.); Rosemary Loehr (junior, Kansas City, Mo.); Spencer Shanks (sophomore, Kearney, Mo.); Tyler White (junior, Independence, Mo.); Rodney Chowning (sophomore, Belton, Mo.); and Jimmy Stuart (junior, Sioux City, Iowa).
In the junior varsity division, the team of Taylor Greene (sophomore, Bixby, Okla.) and Wesley McKellar (first year, Kansas City, Mo.) went undefeated and won the tournament championship. Advancing to the Final Four round were Maigan Bridgette (first year, Leavenworth, Kan.) and Brit Isbell (first year, Monett, Mo.). Advancing to the Elite Eight round were Ben Boggs (first year, Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Jessica Taylor (first year, Jefferson City, Mo.).
At the Georgia B. Bowman Tournament on September 17-18, Jewell debate did not lose steam with Dingess and Potter advancing to the Championship Round, placing second. Also advancing to elimination rounds at the second tournament were Mellon, Reisener, Ahal, White, Chowning, Michael Lacombe (senior, South Sioux City, Neb.), Loehr and Shanks.
In the junior varsity division, the teams of Boggs and McKellar and three-person team of David Sanchez (sophomore, Liberty), Bridgette and Taylor advanced to the Final Four round.
Throughout the weekend, Jewell teams defeated teams from schools such as Washburn University, Lewis and Clark College, Southern Illinois University and the University of Oregon.
Overall, the squad finished second place in team sweepstakes, narrowly losing to Texas Tech University, where Garner formerly served as an assistant director of debate.
William Jewell College is committed to bringing together talented students and gifted faculty mentors within a vibrant learning community. A full range of personal and professional development experiences are presented by the selective national liberal arts college’s location within the Kansas City metroplex of more than two million.