The ACU debate team participated in its sixth tournament of the season this past weekend, Jan. 29-31.
Out of the 10 students who entered into the tournament, eight moved onto the eliminations rounds. The final results for the team were first place in JV (Emma Jaax), second place in Novice (Abby Weiss), semifinalist in Novice (Meeyah Davis), quarterfinalist in JV (Nathan Marshall), two quarterfinalists in Novice (Emily McDonald & Jake Peace), two octofinalists in JV (Hannah Maniscalo & TJ Reynolds) and two JV speaker awards (Emma Jaax and TJ Reynolds).
Sheila Ritchie, director of forensics and debate, said that she is very proud of the team and their accomplishments this far.
She said that amount of awards the team has been getting is new but that there is still room to grow.
“Since I’ve picked this [team] up, we’ve never gone to a tournament where we haven’t won at least one award,” Ritchie said. “However, I think it’s vital we continue to get new members, so we can continue to get better over the next three years the young members will be here for.”
Jaax said that going into the tournament she was stressed since this was the first tournament for the team coming out of winter break.
However, she said she loved the support that the team gave each other going into the eliminations rounds.
“Another thing I loved about this team is the camaraderie. Everyone is incredibly supportive, and we get really invested into our teammates round,” Jaax said. “Every time someone won and advanced, there was definitely some riotous and competitive cheering.”
The tournament was done over yaatly.com, a video conference website made for speech and debate competitions among other purposes.
“We debate from on campus while some other schools like LSU or Mississippi State still can’t meet on campus, so they’ll debate from their dorm rooms,” Ritchie said.
Regarding where to grow from here, Ritchie said the team’s goal is to be number one among national rankings.
“Our goal is to be number one on the national level. We’re such a young team so we have room to grow and to keep expanding because, while we might have six members that do exceptionally well, it’s not enough to get to the national rankings among other universities.”
The students in the debate team are:
- Elijah Biedinger, junior management major from San Antonio
- Josh Danaher, freshman criminal justice major from San Antonio
- Meeyah Davis, freshman biochemistry major from Teague
- Emma Jaax, freshman accounting major from Boerne
- Hannah Maniscalo, freshman political science major from Spring
- Nathan Marshall, freshman financial management major from Melissa
- Emily McDonald, sophomore global studies from Anna
- Jake Peace, sophomore financial management major from Cisco
- TJ Reynolds, senior management major from San Saba
- Thomas Sorensen, freshman management major from Lewisville
- Abby Weiss, freshman communication disorders major from Lititz, PA
“I am incredibly proud of our team,” Jaax said, “not only this tournament but also this whole season so far. We’ve added so many great debaters and it’s such a joy to grow and progress with all of them.”