Truman Debaters Capture Novice National Championship

A small contingent of debaters from the Truman Forensic Union captured the Novice National Championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, as well as other honors, at the 26th Annual Novice Nationals, held March 14-16 at the University of West Florida, in Pensacola. Forty-three colleges and universities from across the nation entered first-year competitors in a range of individual speaking and debate events. More than 20 of these schools were entered in the debate events in which Truman participated.

Sarah Backhaus, a freshman from Liberty, Mo.; Dylan Clark, a freshman from Maryland Heights, Mo.; and Margaret Gillard, a freshman from Jackson, Mo.; shared the tournament championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Backhaus and Gillard closed-out one semifinal bracket, while Clark defeated an opponent from the University of West Florida in the opposing bracket. This culminated in a final round composed of both Backhaus and Clark. Thus, no final debate was needed. Backhaus was ranked first speaker in the division, while Clark was ranked third.

In parliamentary debate the team of Backhaus and Clark reached the semifinals of the tournament before losing to a team from Utah Valley State College. Backhaus was ranked fifth speaker in the division.

The Novice National Championship, now in its 26th year, is an opportunity for colleges and universities to expose first-year competitors to a national championship experience. Many students, including these students from Truman, also compete for national titles that include students from all class levels. In two weeks, Backhaus and Clark will join two other teams from Truman at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships at the United States Air Force Academy.
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