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Home > PHC Wins Home NFA Tournament

PHC Wins Home NFA Tournament

February 4th, 2009

By Michaela Martens

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 338-8727


Patrick Henry College hosted its first National Forensic Association debate tournament this Saturday, competing against three other schools for the 16 available National qualifying slots. PHC students performed "beyond expectations," said Dr. James Tallmon, Director of Debate, earning 12 of the available positions and numerous speaker awards.

Freshman Joanna Griffith placed first overall, followed by freshman Alan Carillo in second, guest Zach Robbins in third, and sophomore Alyssa Farah in fourth. Patrick Henry College also swept the majority of speaking awards.

Tallmon said the N.F.A. tournament represents a "new thing" for the debate squad at PHC. "Students felt the educational value and opportunity to excel was limited in our previous league, so we charted a new course, and chose to become part of the N.F.A," he said.

Tallmon gives full credit to debate coaches McPeak, Jamison, and Edelblut for coordinating a "virtually flawless event."

"They put a lot of hard work into this tournament, and it paid off. They were capable and knew what they were doing," he said.

PHC Executive Debate Coach Isaiah McPeak placed the successful tournament in perspective. "We realized that . . . we really needed to do what we could to give back to the community that is so gracious to us," he said.

"I'm excited about the opportunity the school has for collaboration and competition with schools with similar academic standards," said Tallmon.

McPeak stressed that the N.F.A. debate team saw the tournament as service to the debate community as a whole. "As part of our culture-shaping mission on the debate team, we thought that a community-judge-only tournament would contribute significantly to this effort," he said.

McPeak worked with assistant director Kyndra Jamison and debate coach Brianna Edelblut to successfully organize the eleven rounds of debate this weekend, from facilities to judges. He said that one of the main reasons for the tournament's success was that "it ended so close to on-time, which was only possible because of how effective and detail-oriented [they] performed."

One of the highlights of the PHC tournament was the emphasis on judging by a variety of community judges. "It's gratifying how enthusiastic the community judges were, both at PHC and the community at large. They were happy and excited to be involved, and wanted to come back for more," Tallmon said.

Junior Krystal Brunner said that she spent her Saturday judging at the request of Coach Jamison.  "The woman is a genius and inspired nobility from everyone," she said.

McPeak said the community-judge-only emphasis allowed a higher quality of debate to take place at this tournament. "This is significant because it means debaters cannot hope to communicate a specialist or elitist jargon-oriented argument, but instead must focus on normal communication and eloquence that policy debate is supposed to cultivate," he said, "The wider and more varied the audience, the better training for debaters."

PHC student and judge Krystal Brunner was impressed by the level of skill she observed at the tournament. "The kids were very well spoken—I wouldn't want to hit any of these guys in a round," she said.

Tournament Results:

1. Joanna Griffith [PHC][on a 6-1 decision]
2. Alan Carrillo [PHC]
3. Zach Robbins
4. Alyssa Farah [PHC]
5. Blake Bozarth
6. Nicole Frazer [PHC]
7. Erin Pradia [PHC]
8. Jeffrey Hunt [PHC]
9. David Kurashige [PHC]
10. Zach Enos [PHC]
11. Kyle Niewoehner [PHC]
12. Cameron Gower
13. Jason Heki [PHC]
14. Ian Reid[PHC]
15. Hannah Vanbiber
16. Gregory Escobar [PHC]

The top 15 speakers:
1. Zach Robbins
2. Blake Bozarth
3. Alan Carrillo [PHC]
4. Jeffrey Hunt [PHC]
5. Nicole Frazer [PHC]
6. Joanna Griffith [PHC]
7. David Kurashige [PHC]
8. Zach Enos [PHC]
9. Alyssa Farah [PHC]
10. Jason Heki [PHC]
11. Ian Reid [PHC]
12. Hannah Vanviber
13. Gregory Escobar [PHC]
14. Russell York [PHC]
15. Kyle Niewoehner [PHC]

In keeping with its title of the "Communicator Classic," the top speaker and top debater received a copy of Aristotle's On Rhetoric.