The Grove City College Debate Team enjoyed one of its greatest achievements as the team brought home an unprecedented five national titles in a single weekend.
The team travels extensively to compete during the debate season, but this past weekend the nation’s top Christian colleges and universities travelled to Grove City College in order to compete in the 23rd annual National Christian College Forensics Association’s National (NCCFA) Invitational tournament. Teams came from as far as Florida, Texas, California and Washington with schools such as Liberty University, Whitworth University, Azusa Pacific University, Colorado Christian College, Cedarville University and Kansas Wesleyan University in attendance.
The event also attracted numerous Grove City College Debate Team alumni, who used the competition as an opportunity to reunite and to assist the current team with their preparation and competition.
The Debate team competes in two forms of debate – National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) and the International Parliamentary Debate Association (IPDA). Both are modeled loosely after the British parliament, with NPDA featuring two-person teams and IPDA having just individual competitors.
Grove City College dominated the NPDA competition with senior captain Chris Ostertag ‘20 and Andrew Furjanic ‘20 winning first place in varsity parliamentary debate, closing out the final round with fellow Trustee Scholars Rebecca Powell ’20 and Anna Claire Rowlands ’22. Sophomores Ruth Eckman ’22 and Reese Overholt ’22 won first place in the JV parliamentary division, while freshmen Sebastian Anastasi ’23 and Jacob Adams ’23 placed third.
Ostertag and Anastasi were both named the tournament’s top speaker in their respective divisions. Additionally, the team did extremely well in the IPDA competition with junior captain Susannah Barnes ’21 and junior Jonathan Skee ’21 both making it to semifinals in the open division. Likewise, freshman Caleb West ’23 posted a semifinal finish in the novice division.
Ultimately, no Grove City College debater went undecorated, and the team’s overall performance secured the “Quality Award” for the school with the best average point contribution per entry. The long-standing NCCFA tournament director indicated he didn’t remember “ever seeing a score like this” with the Grove City College students earning twice the average score of the runner-up.
Debating on their own campus for the first time in the squad’s history, the Grove City College team seemed to be inspired by the familiar surroundings and the presence of three former captains – Ryan Brown ’16, Drew Brackbill ’16, and Colin Freyvogel ’18 – to turn in their best collective performance in the team’s history.
“As well as the team performed, it was honestly just as delightful to see an all-star team of alums working with current students to achieve victory. Grove City College’s forensic culture fosters a unique comradery that continues through the generations and it was truly moving to see it in action,” Dr. Jason R. Edwards, debate coach and professor of History, said.
Edwards has coaching assistance from Dr. Michael Coulter, chair and professor of Political Science, as well as Dr. Andrew Harvey, professor of English, who served as the official host of the tournament.