Hundreds of forensics students from Christian colleges competed this weekend at a national competition hosted by John Brown University.
The National Christian College Forensic Association Nationals competition included 187 competitors from 23 universities competing in 15 categories, plus nearly 60 judges and coaches to facilitate the competition. Over 300 trophies were awarded at Monday night’s banquet.
Sixteen students represented the University and four finished in the top for their categories. Freshmen Walker Martin and Brad Johnson won second place in junior parliamentary debate as a team, senior Andrew Goff earned third place for his prose interpretation, and sophomore Josh McBride took fifth place in the novice public forum debate.
“I am very proud of my team. It was our toughest tournament of the year,” said Eric Roebuck, communications professor and debate team coach. “We have a young team, so it was good to have this tournament here to see some excellent completion and see what it takes to be top-notch.”
Many other teams were comprised of mostly seniors who receive scholarships for debate. In contrast, John Brown University’s team is a club team and had mostly freshmen and sophomores.
This competition ended the University’s season.
“We’re going to use the experience we gained this year to begin planning for next year now,” Roebuck said.
This was freshman Cassy Ramsey’s first tournament.
“I have an appreciation for people who did six events plus debate,” Ramsey said. “It took me a lot of work to do just what I did. I learned more about all that forensics is, seeing it all together, and the impact that it can have on a person’s future and career.”
Junior Broderick Wilson was also impressed by the caliber of the other competitors.
“I kept my eye on and got to compete with Wiley College, you know, the school known as the ‘Great Debaters.’ It was a blessing. It was like competing against history, which was a great opportunity,” Wilson said.
Wilson enjoyed seeing his teammates win.
“Other schools brought the heat, but we got the talent and the spirit to place. It was no surprise to me that we won something,” he said. “And the whole team kept going whether they won or lost.”
It was challenging for the University team to both host and compete in the competition because of all the busyness and details to take care of, Roebuck said. Having to host took away from his ability to coach his team at times.
Wilson said, “There were times where we had malfunctions, but JBU didn’t panic, and they got the job done. I was impressed.”
Roebuck concluded that it was also nice for the team not to have to travel. Last year, the team drove 12 hours to Tennessee for this event. It was also nice to be in a familiar place, he said.
“Hosting is a way to serve the Christian college community and take turns,” Roebuck said.
Each year a different school from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities hosts the competition. Next year’s event will likely be in California.