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Debate Squad Dominant at Duquesne

February 27th, 2007

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

The 2007 Patrick Henry College Debate Team

The Patrick Henry College Debate Team returned triumphant from its recent NEDA tournament at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, taking 1st place in all 3 divisions and taking the top 5 places in the Crossfire Division.

According to PHC Debate Coach Brian Wright, a 2006 national PHC debate champion, “It was the best tournament PHC has ever had.”

PHC’s debate squad achieved something extremely rare, “closing out” two of the three divisions (meaning both teams in finals were PHC teams and did not need to debate). PHC also took first place in the Open Division, thereby taking 1st place in all three divisions. In addition, PHC won two of the three possible 1st place speaker awards.

Of particular note was the team’s success in the Crossfire Division, which features short, fast-paced argumentation and intense questioning sequences. PHC entered five teams - and took 1st through 5th place.

In the highly competitive Open Division, Nathanael Yellis and Brianna Edelblut defeated a talented team from Duquesne while debating U.S. policy toward refugees.

According to debate captain Isaiah McPeak, “the Duquesne girls ran an affirmative case allowing more refugees and others seeking asylum to enter the United States. Brianna and Nathanael, who had never heard of this case previously, defeated it by proving that the current system already aims to accept tens of thousands of these refugees. They also contended, successfully, that only 3,000 have entered this year because most who seek refugee and asylum-seeker status are found to be suspect by immigration judges and often prove to have terrorist ties.

“The PHC debate team researched and practiced for countless hours beforehand,” he added, “and felt like the victory in finals was a victory for the whole team.” Duquesne was Edelblut's first college tournament and Yellis's first tournament in the varsity division. McPeak observed, “This kind of first-time success demonstrates the incredible future potential of this team.”

Remarking on the team’s success, Wright clarified: “It’s important to know that our focus in these tournaments is not on winning. Instead, our desire is to impart grace to our neighbors in the league, learn to work as a team, and serve as ambassadors for Christ and liberty. The Lord has blessed these efforts with victory beside. We praise God, most of all, for the personal growth that these young men and women are experiencing.”

Tournament results are as follows:
Open Division
1st place: Brianna Edelblut/Nathaniel Yellis
3rd place: Renee Benavidez/Aidan Grano
Open Speakers
3rd place: Isaiah McPeak
6th place: Aidan Grano
Crossfire Division:
1st place: Rachel Heflin/Kawika Vellalos
2nd place: Nicole Forcine/Jayce Nichols
3rd place: Storm Swendsboe/Matt Lukoviak
4th place: Ben Gibson/Peter Reed
5th place: Patrick McKay/Jonathan Horton
Crossfire Speakers:
1st : Kawika Vellalos
2nd : Nicole Forcine
3rd : Storm Swendsboe
4th : Patrick McKay
5th : Rachel Heflin
6th : Peter Reed
7th : Jayce Nichols
Novice Division:
1st place: Dan Burns/Robert Kelly
2nd place: Carmen Pettus/Tim Raveling
Novice Speakers:
1st : David Carver
2nd : Carmen Pettus
3rd : Robert Kelly
4th : Daniel Burns