Speech and Debate Team Clinch State Championship, Receive Honors

The Belmont University Speech and Debate team was crowned the state champion team at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state tournament, held Feb. 18-19 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn. Overall, the team won first place in individual events, second place in debate, as well as being the top combined team in the state.

In other debate news, Eric Schoen was named as the District Six (southeast area of the United States) American Forensics Association (AFA) All-American representative. This is a tremendous honor for Schoen and a first of this kind of recognition for Belmont. The award is for seniors and requires accomplishments in three areas: forensic competition, academic achievement and community service. Eric will be recognized at the AFA national tournament in April. Teammate, Nicole Bright was named as the District Six AFA student representative and will serve as a liaison between students and coaches in the organization. These positions recognize the high caliber of students from the Speech and Debate team and also exemplifies that Belmont is truly making a name for itself amongst other national speech and debate programs.

Below is the list of awards Belmont students received at the state championship:


Eric Schoen – 2nd place varsity debater
Nicole Bright – 6th place varsity debater
Lisa Sekscinski & Matthew Roberts – tied for 7th place varsity debater
Nicole Bright & Lisa Sekscinski – 2nd place debate team
Matthew Roberts & Jenni Gustafson – Semi-finalist debate team

Individual Events:

Extemporaneous Speaking:
Eric Schoen – 1st place
Jenni Gustafson – 3rd place
Matthew Roberts – 4th place
Nicole Bright – 6th place

Persuasive Speaking:
Jenni Gustafson – 1st place
Matthew Roberts – 2nd place

Prose Interpretation:
Eric Schoen – 2nd place

After Dinner Speaking:
Nicole Bright – 1st place
Eric Schoen – 2nd place

Impromptu Speaking:
Eric Schoen – 2nd place
Nicole Bright – 3rd place
Bryan Meehan – 4th place
Jenni Gustafson – 5th place

Informative Speaking:
Eric Schoen – 1st place
Matthew Roberts – 3rd place

Programmed Oral Interpretation:
Eric Schoen – 1st place
Nicole Bright – 5th place

Communication Analysis:
Matthew Roberts – 3rd place
Jenni Gustafson – 4th place

Duo Interpretation:
Eric Schoen/Katie Callaway – 1st place
Nicole Bright/Katie Callaway – 3rd place

Pentathalon – Top Speakers:
Eric Schoen – 1st place
Nicole Bright – 2nd place
Jenni Gustafson – 3rd place
Kallie Callaway – 5th place
Matthew Roberts – 6th place

Final Results:
Debate Team: 2nd place
IE Team: 1st place
Overall Team: 1st place