Published on September 27, 2021 by Sean Flynt  
The 2021-22 Debate Team
The 2021-22 Debate Team

Samford University’s Debate Team competed in the season opener hosted by Northwestern University in mid-September. The debaters made a strong showing and came home to an eighth-place national ranking.

The team of Grace Blackwell and Abi McKibben took second place in the novice division at the tournament, defeating last year’s top-ranked Liberty University squad as well as teams from University of Houston and University of Michigan. Blackwell was named eighth speaker. 

The team of Hank Jackson and T.J. Riggs finished in the sweet 16 of junior varsity, defeating teams from University of Houston and Trinity University. Riggs was named third speaker and Jackson was named eighth speaker. 

The team of Sawyer Emerson and Maddox Gates finished in the sweet 16 of varsity, picking up wins against reigning national champion Dartmouth University as well as Emory University, University of Kentucky, University of Kansas and Wichita State University. The team of Aaron Gill and Joey Tarnowki also competed in varsity, defeating teams from Emory University and New York University.

The team will next compete in an early October tournament hosted by the University of Kentucky.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.