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Speech and Debate wins big at Willamette

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Students debating in classroom
March 1, 2016

The T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum took home first place this weekend at the 2016 annual Mark O. Hatfield Memorial Debate tournament on Feb. 27 and 28.

10271648_1220460144650066_3676361991267137725_nAfter competing against 52 teams comprised of students from all over the nation, as well as against international teams from Vancouver, B.C., Austin Ballard ’16 and Angie Tinker ‘16 were named the 2016 Mark O. Hatfield Memorial Debate tournament champions.

“I never thought I would do collegiate Debate,” Ballard said, “but I went to a tournament on a whim my junior year and was hooked. I made it my senior year pipe dream to win a tournament. I’ve worked hard and lost sleep to make this happen and I couldn’t be happier.”

Ballard also received an award for tenth best speaker overall at the tournament.

This is the second big win as a division for the T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum this season. One of their Junior Varsity teams comprised of two freshmen took home the championship title at the 2015 Seattle University Worlds Debate.

“When I was 17, I said that in the next five years, by the time I was 22, I wanted to win a debate tournament. I accomplished that life achievement this weekend, and I am so proud,” Tinker said.

There were nine total teams from PLU competing at this tournament, who were all competitive, but Ballard and Tinker were the only PLU team to advance to semi-finals.

Tournaments traditionally advance 30 percent of teams into elimination rounds, due to the high competition at this tournament, only 15 percent of teams advanced to semi-finals. Four PLU teams placed in the top 30 percent of schools.

The T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum will host the Betsy Karl Invitational, as well as a women’s round robin style debate, at Pacific Lutheran University March 11 and 12.