Texas State Championship
At the Spring Texas Interscholastic Forensics Association (TIFA) tournament held at Texas A & M February 2-4, 2017, UNT students Abron Hester and Garrett Hammonds were finalists in parliamentary debate. Garrett Hammonds was also named the second speaker in parliamentary debate. Students Emily Jackson and Cortez Proal were both finalists in Lincoln-Douglas debate (closing out the event completely. Ms. Jackson and Mr. Proal were also named thefirst and second speakers in Lincoln-Douglas debate, respectively. Abron Hester and Ore Afolayan also advanced in the International Public Debate Association format and in that division Abron Hester was a finalist. Philip Burton placed third in the individual event, poetry.
Abron Hester and Garrett Hammonds were also named to the All State Forensics Team. An honor which recognized continued success and individual achievement in debate and academics.
The tournament has so many divisions of debate and individual events that it also gives awards for best overall performances by a school, the so-called "sweepstakes awards." UNT won first place in debate sweepstakes as well as first place overall sweepstakes meaning that UNT students won more awards and accumulated more points than any other college or university in Texas. This is especially meaningful because while UNT debate sent 13 students to the Texas championship, it actually had the smallest number of entries yet won more awards than any other university.
16 Texas universities competed at the tournament including Rice, San Jacinto College, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and the University of Texas at Austin.
This overall win comes on the heels of also winning the Fall Texas Interscholastic Association championship in November, meaning that UNT has won both halves of the school year.
Utah, TCU, Texas Tech
The spring season for UNT Debate started before the first day of class with Garrett Hammonds and Abron Hester competing at the University of Utah January 5-6, 2017. Competing against 28 other colleges and universities, Hester and Hammonds placed in the top 30 out of 70 debate teams. The top 30 ranking reflects the team competing against a national set of opponents as the best in the country came out to Utah in January.
The team also placed well at Texas Christian University's spring tournament with Avery Davis and Logan Boemisch placing in the top 3 teams in parliamentary debate (semifinalists). Abron Hester and Garrett Hammonds also placed in the top 8 (quarterfinals). At TCU, UNT competed against 10 other universities including the University of Oklahoma, the University of Minnesota, and TCU.
At Texas Tech's tournament on January 26-28, UNT students Abron Hester and Garrett Hammonds finished in the top 8 teams in a field that included Washburn University, Rice, William Jewell College, Texas Tech, UT-Tyler, and Colorado State University-Pueblo.
National Tournaments Ahead
With trophies and high placements at Utah, TCU, Tech, and the Texas All State Tournament, UNT heads into nationals season with a wealth of success. Abron Hester and Garrett Hammonds have been invited to the prestigious National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence which takes place in Colorado March 19-21, 2017.
-Written by Dr. Brian Lain