Denton, TX- The University of North Texas Speech and Debate Team capped off an award-winning season taking second place at the National Forensics Association (NFA) National Tournament held in Normal, Illinois, while sophomore Joseph Wofford took top honors winning the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) Debate best speaker award.
The national tournament included teams from over 100 colleges and universities competing in individual speaking events of interpretation, public speaking, and limited preparation genres, as well as the Lincoln-Douglas debate. The LD debate is a one-on-one policy debate.
Ranked by the tournament judges, Joseph Wofford (Communication Studies, Aubrey, TX) captured the tournament's top speaker award in debate compared to all other debaters from the field amongst the best of the best.
Gavvy Lott (Political Science/Communication Studies, Tyler, TX) and Alaia Snell (Economics/Communication Studies, Frisco, TX) upset their opponents to make it to the octafinals round in Dramatic Interpretation and Extemporaneous Speaking, respectfully, while Aaron Delgado (Communication Studies, Helotes, TX) advanced in the octafinals round in Extemporaneous Speaking and Persuasive Speaking. Joseph Wofford and Holden Bukowski (Philosophy, Buda, TX) finished in the Sweet 16 (octafinalist) in Debate, meanwhile, Zachary Jones (Political Science, Tyler, TX) and Taylor Dougherty (Communication Studies, Princeton, TX) finished in the Elite 8 (quarterfinalist) in Debate.
This academic year, the squad has won over 135 awards to celebrate the program's 120 years of existence, dating back to 1901. The team is expected to pick up next season with all returning members
"The team has had a great year and their work really came through in the end. This really was a team effort, coaches Louie Petit and Colin Quinn really set the tone for nationals. It is incredible and absolutely unusual that a team would qualify seven people and all would win awards," said Dr. Brian Lain, director of UNT Debate. "As a team, what they did is similar to Olympic gymnastics, not only did they have individual medal winners, but the team had a high number of awards that it ranked second overall, which is a massive accomplishment for the students", said Lain.
Fellow teammate Wofford noted the importance of great student leadership including co-presidents Lott and Snell, "Every single member who traveled received an award for their performance. I think that is a testament of the hard work by the team and our coaches," echoed Wofford.
To wrap up its season, this honor moved the UNT squad overall ranking to No. 2, shattering the previous two years' overall finishes in 2021 (10th) and 2020 (11th).
For more information on the UNT Debate Team, click here.
By: Cam Trahan and Dr. Brian Lain
For more information contact: Dr. Brian Lain, Director of Debate and Associate Professor with the University of North Texas College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Department of Communication Studies
Updated: May 10, 2022