Competing against top collegiate debate teams from across Arkansas, the mid-South, and the west coast, the University of Arkansas at Monticello won three sweepstakes awards in the Arkansas division of the Southern Forensics Championship held January 25-27 at Louisiana State University-Shreveport.

UAM captured the individual events sweepstakes, the debate sweepstakes, and the overall sweepstakes in competition with debate teams from Arkansas Tech, Harding, the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and North Arkansas Community College.  Other schools at the competition included Bossier Parrish Community College, East Texas Baptist University, LSU, LSU-Alexandria, LSU-Shreveport, Louisiana Tech, Oregon State, Stephen F. Austin State, Sam Houston State, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee, and William Carey College.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Jim Evans, UAM debate coach. “To win all three sweepstakes awards against some of the top debate competition in the state is an achievement for which our program and our university can be proud.”

In the individual IPDA (International Public Debate Association) competition, UAM’s Bobby Evans of Memphis, Tenn., won the Arkansas state championship in professional debate and was named the outstanding professional debate speaker among competitors from Arkansas schools. Chris Brown of Siloam Springs reached the quarterfinals of the professional debate division.

Jonathan Hoskins of Hermitage was a finalist in varsity debate and April Wright of Conway reached the final 16 in the novice debate competition.

In individual speaking events, Wright was seventh in persuasive speaking and qualified for the Interstate Oratory Competition (IOC), the oldest oratorical contest in the United States. Established in 1872, the IOC features competition among the top two contestants from each state. This year’s IOC will be held April 21-23 at LSU-Shreveport.

Tanisha Smith of Hamburg also qualified for the IOC in persuasive speaking. Eddie Weaver of DeWitt placed fifth in communication analysis while Anastasia Duff was sixth in after-dinner speaking.

In team debate, Kelly Reed of Benton teamed with Hoskins to reach the semifinals and Reed was named the second place individual speaker in the team debate competition.

UAM Debate Coach Jim Evans was selected to receive the Mary Jarzabek Arkansas Coach of the Year Award.

Other UAM competitors were Zack Tucker of Marked Tree, Jamie Ward of Pocahontas, Samantha Montgomery of Woodlawn, Tiffany Tucker of Cabot, and Breanna Taylor of North Little Rock.

Debaters are pictured above: (Back row from left): Chris Brown, Zack Tucker, Jamie Ward, Eddie Weaver (Middle Row from left): Bobby Evans, Jonathan Hoskins, Anastasia Duff, Samantha Montgomery (Front row from left): Tiffany Tucker, Breanna Taylor, April Wright, Kelly Reed, Tanisha Smith.