The Grove City College Debate Society won the sweepstakes award and took four of the top eight spots in the playoff round of the second annual American Enterprise Institute’s Values & Capitalism debate tournament last weekend in Washington D.C.
When the dust settled in the historic Mayflower Hotel, Grove City’s team made it clear that the College has one of the strongest debate programs in the country.
The invitation-only tournament showcased the best of what schools with strong Christian and conservative traditions have to offer. Schools such as Patrick Henry College, Kings College, Covenant College, Wheaton College, Abilene Christian University, California Baptist University and Pepperdine all attended. Teams debated a variety of policy and philosophical topics including Syrian refugees, city zoning and building codes, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, family law, constitutional law and criminal justice. The institute, one of the most prominent conservative D.C. think tanks, held the tournament in partnership with Colorado Christian University.
Grove City College was by far the most successful school at the tournament. All of the College’s five teams had winning records coming out of the preliminary rounds. As a squad, the debaters posted a 20-5 record during preliminary events and secured four of the eight spots in playoffs out of a field that included 32 teams. Those teams were knocked out in subsequent rounds, with one advancing as far as semi-finals, but the team took the tourney’s sweepstakes award, which indicates a “best overall” performance.
Individual Grove City College debaters dominated the speaker awards. Zechariah Voell ’17, Leesburg, Va., and Ryan Brown ’16, Merced, Calif., took first and second place, respectively. Micah Quigley ’18, Auburn, N.Y., secured the fourth best speaker award, while Colin Freyvogel ’18, Butler, Pa., and Joshua Tam ’18, Danville, Calif., won seventh and ninth respectively.
As well as testing the student’s verbal skills and mental sharpness, “the tournament provided an opportunity for the debaters to interact with several other GCC alumni and debate team veterans who now work or study in the D.C. area,” Coach Jason Edwards, professor of history, said.