Ball State's Debate Team won 17 awards, including first place, at the 2017 National Educational Debate Association National Championship this weekend at Anderson University. The team has won nine of the last 10 national championships. Abigail Gibbs // Photo Provided
Debate team wins 2017 national tournament
Video by Mallory Weil, NewsLink Indiana
Ball State's Debate Team won the 2017 National Educational Debate Association National Championship this past weekend.
The first-place award was just one of the 17 total awards the fifteen members of the team won at Anderson University during two days of competition over Spring Break.
Evan Like, a junior telecommunications major, is the captain of the team and said going into the tournament, Ball State had a target on its back due to its winning history — the team has won nine out of the last 10 national championships.
“I knew going in that it wouldn't be easy, it really never is for us because we always run into some kind of an argument that comes out of left field or a new debater that we've never seen before,” Like said.
NEDA’s debate topic was the affirmative and negative sides of why the United States government should substantially reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Mike Bauer, Ball State's debate coach, has been coaching debate for 30 years, 26 of them at Ball State.
“It’s rewarding to see that when students put in hard work, time and effort, they receive some kind of positive response from that," Bauer said. "For them to receive the awards and accolades that they are is appreciative to me because of the hard work and dedication that they have."
Roshni Brahmbhatt, a senior history major, has been on the debate team for two years and won top speaker in her division at the national competition.
“You get to compete against the same schools, and since I’ve been competing for the last two years, I know a lot of people from Southeast Missouri, or Dayton University," Brahmbhatt said. "I’ve competed against them so I know their style and I know what rounds we’ve lost and what rounds we’ve won and that makes me really, really competitive. So, there are a few people that I am ready to destroy."
Morgan Johnson, a sophomore exercise science major, and Abigail Gibbs, a junior interpersonal communication major, tied for first, but ended up in second place. Johnson also tied for fifth, ending up sixth after tie-breakers for the speaker awards in their division. They also placed fourth in their division as a team.
“We had a moment where we felt defeated, but our coaches were like, ‘No don’t hang your heads. This isn’t over, you all did the best you could,'" Gibbs said. "Then it came to the awards and we still won overall team and we won the national tournament. It’s really not about just us, and how we did, it’s about everyone, because every round counts."
Johnson was proud of herself, but also felt pride in her fellow teammates.
“It’s not even about the awards necessarily, that I personally won, but the pride that you feel for other people on your team," Johnson said.