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SMU Takes 4th at First Major Debate Tournament of the Year

Originally Posted: September 27, 2021

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SMU finished sixth overall among 21 universities from across the United States at a season opening debate tournament in IPDA. SMU debate competed at the University of Southern Mississippi debate tournament this weekend (September 25 & 26). SMU finished ahead of UNT, University of Florida, Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas and eight other universities. SMU debaters won 26 out of 42 preliminary rounds on topics such as climate change, COVID, and space exploration. That is a win/loss percentage of 62%.

In his first college debate tournament, Eric Ryan was selected as 4th speaker overall in the junior varsity division among 38 student competitors. Former novice national top speaker Emma Waite finished as the top seed in the professional division. Varsity debater Ryan Booth finished with a 5-1 preliminary record and the fifth seed overall among 42 debaters. He advanced to semifinals after winning octafinal and quarterfinal debates. Erik Rorem was 2-4 in varsity and Taylor Enslin narrowly missed advancing to elimination rounds with a 3-3 record and finishing as the 17th seed overall.

Savannah LaRoe was the 9th seed in novice division debate with a 4-2 record. She won her octafinal debate before losing in the quarterfinals. Hailey Hazen finished preliminary rounds with a 4-2 record in noice for her first collegiate competition. She won an octafinal debate on the topic of critical race theory before losing in the quarterfinals.

More than 140 competitors from across the United States were debating in the tournament. Universities in attendance included: Abilene Christian University, Arkansas State University, Belmont University, BPCC, Dallas Baptist University, ETBU, Howard Payne University, Jefferson State Community College Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University, Middle Tennessee State University, Mississippi State University, OKBU, Park University, Southern Methodist University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of North Texas, University of Tennessee,Knoxville, and William Carey University.

SMU debaters were Ryan Booth, Taylor Enslin, Hailey Hazen, Savannah LaRoe, Erik Rorem, Eric Ryan, and Emma Waite.

SMU judges and coaches were Price Morgan, Jaden Warren, Ashlyn Williams, Martin and Dr. Ben Voth.

Student details:

Booth, Alamo, California, Senior, Political Science and Finance
Enslin, Garland, Texas, Senior, Political Science, Public Policy, and History
Hazen, Colleyviille, Texas, Sophomore, History
LaRoe, Dallas, Texas, Senior, Psychology
Rorem, Plano, Sophomore, Political Science
Eric Ryan, Plano, Texas, Freshman, Finance, Journalism, Science
Waite, Colleyville, Junior, Mechanical Engineering with a biomedical specialization
Ben Feinstein, San Antonio, Junior, History
Jaden Warren, Dallas, alumni, economics with finance and public policy

There were 42 teams in varsity debate. There were 14 teams in professional. There were 38 teams in junior varsity. There were 50 teams in novice. 146 debaters from 21 universities across nine states debated this weekend. SMU debate was supported by work and students from the SMU Honors program.

For more information, please contact director of debate and professor of Rhetoric Dr. Ben Voth