The Grove City College Debate Team wrapped up its 2016-2017 season in dominant fashion by winning an overall national championship as well as several individual ones and securing a place as one of the most successful teams in College history.
Head Coach Dr. Jason R. Edwards, a professor of history and humanities at Grove City College, credited the team’s community mentality for the team’s successful season.
“Grove City debate’s motto is to ‘speak better and know more,’” he said. “Our success this year – and in the past – speaks to the effectiveness of the formula. But, frankly, I am more pleased by the fact that the team is a true community that fosters development in all aspects of life, not just argumentation. Grove City College’s commitment is to developing men and women dedicated to truth and capable of defending it.”
The team secured a national championship at the National Christian College Forensic Invitational in Phoenix, Arizona, at Grand Canyon University, where they competed against the nation’s top Christian schools. Grove City College competed in both NPDA (two-person teams) and IPDA (individual) debates. The squad won the overall debate prize in Division II. Additionally, freshman Christopher Ostertag ’20 was named the top IPDA speaker in the novice division and sophomore Carolyn Hartwick ’19 was named the top IPDA speaker in junior varsity.
That win follows a championship in the American Enterprise Institute’s annual debate tournament in February. The tournament took place at Colorado Christian University in Denver, Colorado, where the team not only defeated schools like Pepperdine University, Azusa Pacific University, Covenant College, Brooklyn College and Ave Maria College, but also took home several individual awards.
Also in February, the team travelled to Bowling Green State University to debate in the open division against University of Illinois, Oberlin College, and Notre Dame. Both the novice and varsity teams competed well, with Kyle Jorstad ’17 and Carolyn Hartwick ’19 going undefeated in the preliminary rounds. The novice team of Alisa Randall ’20 and Meghan Moran ’18 made it to semifinals before being eliminated on a 2-1 decision, while the senior team of Zack Voell ’17 and Isaac Kim ’17 ended the day undefeated.
In the fall semester, the team successfully competed at the 2016 Chief Justice Invitational held in October on the campus of Marshall University. This tournament featured teams from Hillsdale College, Purdue University, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Kentucky. In novice NPDA, freshmen Maverick Dickson ’20 and Graham Filby ’20 ran the tables in the tournament by never losing a round, while in IPDA seniors Voell and Jorstad, along with sophomore Nicholas Robison ’19 took the top three places. In November, the team competed at Bowling Green State University where Voell and Jorstad won the NPDA open finals, novices Chris Ostertag ’20 and Dickson won the top NPDA novice award, and Nick Robison ’19 won the open IPDA division.
Edwards pointed out that the leadership of captains Colin Freyvogel ’18 and Voell was instrumental in guiding the team toward success. “They did a simply outstanding job training the team,” he said. “The level of success enjoyed, particularly by the novices, demonstrates Zack’s and Colin’s hard work and promises a foundation has been laid that will continue to pay dividends for the College’s debaters into the future.”
Dr. Andrew Harvey, professor of English, and Dr. Michael Coulter ’91, professor of political science, served as assistant coaches throughout the year, traveling with and coaching the team.