Debater Carnley earns All-American status, team closes season

The Grove City College Debate Team wrapped up its season with team co-captain Justus Carnley being named a National Educational Debate Association (NEDA) All-American.

Carnley, a senior Management major from Export, Pa., is the first Grove City College debater to earn the honor. He thanked God for the opportunity to compete and achieve All-American status.

“Any success I enjoy is because of abilities God has graciously given me. I'm also thankful to my coach and team for training and pushing me to do my best in a tournament or out in the non-debate world,” he said. “It’s been an honor to lead them as captain and contribute to their success. It also felt good to have years of hard work pay off in winning the award.”

The All-American designation is awarded each year to only a few competitors for sustained success in debate and for exemplifying the high character ideals of NEDA on the student’s campus and community. NEDA President Jeffrey Geers equated receiving the All-American to being named to the “NEDA Hall of Fame.”

The distinction came as the team competed in NEDA’s National Tournament at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., where senior Evy Sutter won the third place speaker award in Varsity NEDA Crossfire and her partner junior Lauren Travieso was awarded the fourth. Carnley, who was undefeated in NEDA events this year, was upset in the quarterfinals of Varsity Rapidfire,

Grove City College’s debate team had a rewarding season, receiving three national titles and their first All-American distinction.

“Our success ultimately depends on our student leadership, so my sincere thanks go to the captains. Benjamin Anastasi provided consistent positive leadership throughout the year and was named the top speaker at the National Christian College Forensics Invitational while Justus Carnley stepped in seamlessly to the captainship in January and was named a NEDA All-American,” said head coach and Professor of History Dr. Jason Edwards.

Prior to nationals, the team dominated the final regular season NEDA tournament with Anastasi winning the first place speaker award and second place team award. Freshman Abigail Chia swept the Novice Rapidfire division with a 5-0 record and earned both the first place speaker and first place team awards. Freshman Stuart Hochstetler placed second behind Chia in the Novice Rapidfire team award and received the third place speaker award.

Carnley plans to attend law school after graduation and has political aspirations. He uses the rhetorical skills he developed debating by teaching in his church. He has been debating, in high school and college, for eight years and joined the Debate Team when he transferred to Grove City College in 2022.

Debate helped him get involved in the campus community, he said. “Debate helped me get my social footing, and through it I have developed great friendships. It provided an opportunity for me to represent the College and positively promote the College's reputation amongst other schools, which has been a great honor,” he said.

Debater Carnley earns All-American status, team closes season

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