Published on March 11, 2024 by Ryan Galloway, Diamond Nunnally  
2024 Mock Debate

Samford Debate returned from a successful weekend at the American Debate Association National Tournament, hosted at Indiana University March 9-11. Junior Mary Grace Hammond and senior Madison Hackett finished in the final four of Junior Varsity. They defeated Wake Forest, NYU, Liberty, the University of Indiana and the University of Michigan, finishing the preliminary rounds as the top seed. Hammond was named fifth speaker and Hackett third. 

“We are very proud of Mary Grace and Madison,” said executive director Ryan Galloway. "They had one of the best seasons on record for Samford University, winning a tournament, placing second in another and then the final four at nationals."

Junior Grace Scott and freshman Laurel Pack reached the final four on the other side of the bracket, finishing the preliminary rounds as the second seed with a 5-1 record. The duo defeated NYU, Liberty, Michigan and Indiana on their route to the final four.  Junior Sarah Chew and freshman Laurel Pack also placed second in the Junior Varsity rankings for the season. Scott was named fourth speaker and Pack was named second speaker.

Director of Debate Lee Quinn said, "It is incredible we had two teams in the final four and the top two teams after preliminary rounds. This is unprecedented for Samford, and I have not heard of any other school accomplishing this task at the ADA Nationals."

Senior Grace Blackwell and sophomore Ella Ford competed in the Varsity division, racking up wins against Emory University, the University of Michigan and the University of Indiana. 

Senior Joey Tarnowski was also recognized as a Julia Burke Character & Excellence Award finalist for demonstrating excellent moral character and competitive excellence.  

"Joey exhibits everything great about Samford University and debate," Galloway said. "He is a giving, kind, excellent teammate and wonderful squad leader." 

Samford Debate will end the season at the National Debate Tournament at Emory University on April 4-8.

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.