Speech and debate students exceeded expectations at the Barkley Forum debate tournament at Emory University in Atlanta Jan. 26-29. In addition to receiving numerous awards, the team also received several bids to the Tournament of Champions (TOC).
To qualify for the TOC, speech and debate competitors must acquire a predetermined number of bids – the exact number depending on the category the student competes in – by ranking high enough at certain highly competitive tournaments that offer bids. Barkley Forum is one such tournament.
“Emory is one of the hardest tournaments of the year,” junior Robert Gillespie said. “Having multiple people place and receive bids is a big accomplishment.” Gillespie won enough preliminary rounds in Lincoln-Douglas debate to qualify as an octofinalist and subsequently received a bid for the TOC.
In addition to Gillespie, junior Chase Freeman, sophomore Luca Zislin and senior Christopher Matei all performed well enough to qualify for the final round of Congressional Debate. Zislin placed sixth while Freeman took home fourth. Junior Nilesh Chander and senior Jordan Parker both made it to the quarterfinal round of Public Forum debate.
“It’s really nice to see all of our hard work pay off and watch others succeed,” Gillespie said.