Belmont’s Speech and Debate Team Fares Well at National Competitions

group shot
All events this year were held over Zoom due to COVID-19. Pictured here are the 2019-2020 Belmont University team members, taken prior to the pandemic.

Belmont’s Speech and Debate team recently competed in the National Christian College Tournament, finishing with various student winners that moved onto the next competition. The team walked away from the competition with four overall awards, a duo award and multiple individual awards. 

Within the Novice IPDA debate, Max Caskie was named the National Champion and the National Champion Novice Debate Speaker. Carly Crotty was recognized as a semi-finalist within the Junior Varsity IPDA Debate. Luke Litz was named the National Champion and the National Champion Varsity Debate Speaker within the Varsity IPDA Debate. 

Alex Jordan and Aaron Kleinschmidt were recognized as National Champions in the Duo Interpretation and also individually, with Kleinschmidt placing third within the Prose Interpretation category and Jordan placing third within the Faith Literature category. Kleinschmidt also placed third in the Impromptu Speaking category where DJ Needs placed second. In the Extemporaneous Speaking category, Litz was awarded second place. 

For the overall awards, Jordan placed seventh and Kleinschmidt placed third in the competition for the individual events competitor. The University as a whole won National Champions in Division III Individual Events and also placed third overall for Debate and Individual Events.  

The team also sent three debaters to the IPDA National Debate Tournament to compete with 62 other universities. All of the Belmont students advanced past the preliminary rounds to the outround tournament bracket, where only competitors with winning records of 5-3 or better advance.

  • Novice Debate:  Lauren Stanfill – Double-Octa Finalist
  • Varsity Debate:  Luke Litz – Quarter-Finalist
  • Varsity Debate:  Tyler Redmon – Quarter-Finalist

Redmon won 7th place overall in Debate Tournament Speaker.

Jason Stahl, instructor in the Communications Department, has coached the team for the past 15 years and expressed how unique this experience was compared to previous years. “I know that the students in my classes have had to show incredible resilience just to end the semester strong. To add speech and debate work on top of that has taken extreme persistence,” he shared.