Wake Forest debate places second at National Debate Tournament

By Maggie Barrett
March 30, 2006

A Wake Forest University debate team placed second in the nation at the 60th National Debate Tournament held March 24 – 27 at Northwestern University.

This marks the second time Wake Forest has reached the finals for the national championship. The university won the national title at the tournament in 1997.

On the way to the final round, Wake Forest's top team of Jamie Carroll and Brad Hall defeated teams from colleges and universities across the nation, including top-seeded teams from Harvard University and Emory University, as well as a team from the national defending champion, Northwestern. In the end, Carroll and Hall were defeated by the Michigan State University team that won the championship.

Among the 156 debaters at the tournament, Carroll and Hall, both seniors majoring in political science at Wake Forest, were named the eighth and ninth best speakers, respectively. Carroll is from Nashville, Tenn., and Hall is from Manahattan, Kan.

Two other Wake Forest teams also qualified for the tournament.

"Only 78 teams from more than 115 colleges and universities across the nation can qualify to compete in the tournament," said Allan Louden, associate professor of communication and director of debate at Wake Forest. "Three teams is the maximum any school can send to the tournament and only six schools receive that privilege. The last time Wake Forest sent three teams was 2002."

Carroll and Hall were coached by Ross Smith, Wake Forest debate coach, and J.P. Lacy, associate Wake Forest debate coach. Smith, coach of Wake Forest debate since 1984, has qualified more teams to the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament than any other coach in the nation during the last decade.

Wake Forest debate has a history that dates back to 1835, the year after the university was founded. The program has produced numerous top debaters and is among a small number of schools that has qualified the most often for the National Debate Tournament's finals. Wake Forest has had final four finishes at the tournament in 1957, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

College Sports TV (CSTV) filmed the 2006 tournament and will use the footage to produce a documentary which will air on CSTV later this year.