Debate team qualifies to National tournament

Julie Knapp

The debate team can’t qualify anymore people to nationals – because they’ve all done it.

The Washburn debate team wrapped up the semester with top placings at the Ohio State University and Otterbein College Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament last weekend.

It wasn’t just the sweepstakes placings the team is talking about though, as they were able to have people place that have not earned awards before. This tournament solidified Washburn as the top school in the nation when it comes to the number of people qualified to the National Forensics Association tournament.

“It feels amazing,” said Joe Heschmeyer, a senior history major on the team. “It’s unprecedented to have a team this large [placing] this many people.”

The team, which now has 19 national qualifiers, attended the Ohio State tournament in order to gain more exposure from the east coach judges, which they will see at the national tournament.

“Our success there was reassuring that we could adapt to the east coast judges,” said Heschmeyer.

The squad competed against teams like the University of Alabama, Clemson University, Western Kentucky University, Central Michigan University and the U.S. Air Force Academy, among others.

On Friday and Saturday in the varsity competition at Ohio State, juniors Dane Anderson and Jessica Otto were octafinalists, while junior Nate Miller, sophomore Shanna Carlson and junior Marcus Schultz-Bergin were quarterfinalists. Junior Annaleigh Curtis and Heschmeyer were semifinalists.

In the junior varsity competition, freshmen Kelsey Fowler and Jennae Frey were quarterfinalists and freshman Rebecca Schmidt placed second.

At the Otterbein College tournament on Sunday, freshmen Tyler Dooley and Scottie Abbott were octafinalists along with senior Tonya Stein and Curtis. Miller was a quarterfinalist, while junior Jess Rezac was a semifinalist. Schultz-Bergin placed second after losing on a 2-1 decision in the final round against Western Kentucky.

In the junior varsity tournament, Frey was a quarterfinalist and Schmidt was a semifinalist, while Fowler placed second to a debater from the U.S. Air Force Academy.