There’s No Debate

by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH

In the last four years, the Cedarville University Debate Team has been advancing through the upper ranks of the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), which boasts 350 top debate programs. This year’s team has continued the tradition of national prominence. The team finished the season in 11th place in NPDA, improving their previous rankings of 14th in 2006, 40th in 2005, and 72nd in 2004. The team’s prestigious wrap-up ranked them second among all Christian colleges and allowed them to top nationally recognized teams such as University of California, Berkeley and Notre Dame.

The ranking follows another dynamic Cedarville debate season, which included first place wins at the Western Kentucky University, Berea College, and Wheaton College tournaments, as well as a second place finish at Purdue University.

The closing season event was the NPDA Championship Tournament at Colorado College. Due to financial constraints, only four of Cedarville’s eight duos competed at the event. With half of their usual numbers, Cedarville persevered and secured an 18th place finish in a five-way tie. This was the first time Cedarville has finished in the top 20 at the NPDA Championship Tournament.

At Colorado College, freshmen John Cooper and Geneva Wilgus teamed to win four of eight preliminary rounds.

Senior Joseph Dugan partnered with team captain and senior Emily Van Vliet to win five of eight preliminary rounds, advancing to the elimination rounds. They finished as triple octofinalists in the top 20 percent.

Sophomores Mark Miller and Courtney Edmonds, winning five out of eight preliminary rounds, also advanced to the elimination rounds. They impressively finished 17th out of 242 teams and landed in the top seven percent.

Dr. Rebecca Sietman, the team’s coach, is deeply appreciative of her team’s efforts.
“This year’s NPDA debate nationals were historic for Cedarville. Not only did we achieve our best national ranking thus far, but I also had the opportunity to work alongside seven other coaches in running the tournament … [this] was a prestigious honor for me and for Cedarville University,” she said.

Sietman is assistant professor of communication arts at Cedarville University.