WU Debate wins fifth national championship at NPDA

Washburn Debate stands together with their national championship trophy. The team brought home its fifth championship since 2010.

Natalie Croze

Maintaining a standard of excellence, Washburn Debate won their fifth Overall Squad Sweepstakes National Championship at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships.

The debate was hosted by the Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and included 46 schools participating in the largest national intercollegiate debate competition in the United States. Washburn Debate has had a tradition of winning the NPDA Squad Championship since 2010, and this year was no different.

In a tight victory, Washburn Debate continued its success by winning the Overall Squad Sweepstakes National Championship for the fifth time since 2009, beating runner up, University of California, Berkeley, 34 wins to 33 wins. The championship is scored based on the performance of each squad’s top four teams.

Washburn’s squad consisted the team of seniors Matt Parnell and Bailey Hockett; the team of seniors John Williams and Will Starks; the team of juniors Brooke Manny and Jackson Hermann; and the team of sophomore Jaishivani Balram and freshman Emily Unruh.

Hockett, a marketing and management major felt that this year the squad has been very good together.

“All of us get along very well,” Hockett said. “We are very supportive of each other and we work well with each other … Everyone takes constructive criticism and provides constructive criticism in a very positive way. I think that that is what has allowed us to flourish this year as an entire team.”

All four Washburn teams made it to the Sweet 16 round of the single elimination tournament. The Sweet 16 round saw three Washburn teams eliminated. Parnell and Hockett, the remaining Washburn team, advanced to the Final Four round. Their path to the Final Four also saw them secure a win against a Texas Tech team, which Washburn had until then failed to do this season. In the Final Four semifinal round, Parnell and Hockett were defeated by a team from Mercer and eliminated from the team competition.

Despite the loss, Hockett is happy with the outcome.

“When I first started on the team, I never ever would’ve thought I would be in the semifinals of a nation tournament,” Hockett said. “So I’ve definitely grown over the years with the help of our coaching staff, specifically Stephen Doubledee who’s been very helpful development me as a debater and as a person.”

The Washburn debate team’s performance in these debates means they remain a great source of pride for both the school and its students, as well as to continue a legacy that could inspire future debate teams to victory.

“We’re all really happy to be Ichabods and happy that we can provide another national championship for the university,” Hockett said.