Belmont Speech and Debate Team Has Historic Win at State Championships

Belmont Speech and Debate team

The Belmont Speech and Debate team won the state title in historic fashion at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state tournament held at Pellissippi State Community College on March 26-27. The team spent the weekend debating hot topic issues and using their voices to stand up for the disadvantaged.

In all twelve individual events offered at the tournament, Belmont University won seven “Top Novice” awards for first-year competitors and claimed the state championship in 10 of the 12 individual events. No other team in the history of the competition has won that many individual titles. In total, Belmont totaled 393 points throughout the course of the weekend, with the second highest ranking team only scoring 143 points overall.

Some highlights include Kay Allen winning Top Speaker in the novice division and Luke Litz winning Second Place Speaker in the varsity division. Additionally, in individual events, senior Alex Jordan won Top Overall Speaker at the tournament with six other Belmont students placing in the Top Eight.

This year’s state championship marks the return of the first in-person competition since the beginning of the pandemic. “Looking back on these past two years, the speech and debate team has been so adaptable to anything thrown at them,” Jordan said. “The determination really proves how much this activity means to all of us, and it’s been an honor to be a part of.”  

As thrilled as the students were to win, senior Jace Wilder, made it clear that being a part of the team is not just about winning trophies. “This team has been the best part of every Wednesday for the past four years for me and is my second family. It has always been a place to not just build your skills as a communicator but truly get to honor your story and learn from such talented other people.”

Below is the full list of awards received over the weekend. Congratulations to these incredibly successful students!

  • Novice IPDA Debate
    • Alli Devolve – 5th place speaker and quarterfinalist
    • Ryleigh Green – 4th place speaker and quarterfinalist
    • Kay Allen – semifinalist & STATE CHAMPION SPEAKER
  • Varsity IPDA DEBATE
    • Luke Litz – semifinalist & 2nd place speaker
  • After Dinner Speaking
    • Alex Jordan – 3rd place
    • Emma Johansson – STATE CHAMPION
  • Extemporaneous Speaking
    • Rose Kores – 6th place
    • Ryleigh Green – 5th place
    • Alivia Kempf – 3th place
    • Kay Allen – 2nd place & TOP NOVICE
    • Luke Litz – STATE CHAMPION
  • Dramatic Interpretation
    • Alli Devolve – 4th place
    • Sarah Carvalho – 3rd place
    • Alisa Osborne – 2nd place & TOP NOVICE
    • Alex Jordan – STATE CHAMPION
  • Persuasive Speaking
    • Sarah Carvalho – 5th place
    • Jace Wilder – 4th place
    • Alivia Kempf – 3rd place
  • Programmed Oral Interpretation
    • Meritt McGahee – 5th place
    • Jasmine Pettus – 2nd place
    • Alisa Osborne – STATE CHAMPION & TOP NOVICE
  • Radio Broadcasting
    • Alli Devolve – 5th place
    • Jasmine Pettus – 3rd place
    • Alisa Osborne – 2nd place & TOP NOVICE
    • Jace Wilder – STATE CHAMPION
  • Impromptu Speaking
    • Luke Litz – 5th place
    • Alivia Kempf – 3rd place
    • Sarah Carvalho – 2nd place
    • Alex Jordan – STATE CHAMPION
  • Duo Interpretation
    • Emma Johansson / Alex Jordan – 4th place
    • Emma Johansson / Alisa Osborne – 3rd place
    • Meritt McGahee / Alli Devolve – 2nd place & TOP NOVICE
    • Jace Wilder / Alex Jordan – STATE CHAMPION
  • Rhetorical Criticism
    • Jace Wilder – 2nd place
  • Poetry Interpretation
    • Jasmine Pettus – STATE CHAMPION & TOP NOVICE
  • Prose Interpretation
    • Alli Devolve – 6th place
    • Meritt McGahee – 5th place
    • Sarah Carvalho – 2nd place
    • Emma Johansson – STATE CHAMPION
  • Informative Speaking
    • Alisa Osborne – 3rd place
    • Sarah Carvalho – 2nd place
    • Jasmine Pettus – STATE CHAMPION & TOP NOVICE
  • Top Overall Speaker (pentathlon) Award
    • Meritt McGahee – 7th place
    • Alli Devolve – 6th place
    • Emma Johansson – 4th place
    • Sarah Carvalho – 3rd place
    • Alisa Osborne – 2nd place
    • Alex Jordan – STATE CHAMPION
  • Team Awards
    • Overall Debate Sweepstakes – 2nd place
    • Overall Individual Event Sweepstakes – STATE CHAMPIONS
    • Overall Tournament Sweepstakes – STATE CHAMPIONS