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Tech to host IPDA national tournament, conference in March

Tennessee Tech’s speech and debate team is off to a great start. So far this spring, the team has collected 51 individual awards and six team awards from four tournaments held since the beginning of the year, along with two state champions being named at the state tournament held Feb. 22-23.

During the state tournament held at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Jay Norsworthy was named the state champion speaker in Varsity NPDA debate and Mik Davis was named state champion in Varsity IPDA debate. Davis also received second place in extemporaneous speaking while Elliot Payne received second place speaker in Varsity NPDA debate.

With those accomplishments under its belt, the team is now preparing to host the International Public Debate Association’s national debate and conference on Tech’s campus March 14-17.

“Officials were asking around about future venues and Tech’s name was mentioned,” said Jacob Metz, assistant speech and debate coach. “We put in a bid and received approval in September to host.”

Tech’s speech and debate team attended the conference and tournament last year, which was held in Louisiana.

Metz and Kevin Bryant, communication instructor and speech and debate team coach, are working hard to make sure enough judges are in place.

“We need 4-6 judges on hand at all times,” Metz said. “We’re hoping to get as many as possible.”

It will be less technical than other tournaments, but judges will be making decisions on who won a debate round.

“Community, faculty and student judges are encouraged to attend,” he said.

The team, currently made up of 11 individuals, had a phenomenal year last year.

“The 2018-2019 season has been the most successful season,” Metz said. “We had 225 individual awards and 15 team awards.”

Metz said the team is excited to host such a large tournament.

“The team is also preparing for debates in this tournament,” Metz said.

During the Tennessee Communication Association’s annual conference held in September, Metz was named the Communication Instructor of the Year by the Tennessee Communication Association.

“It was a complete surprise,” he said about the nomination and win. “I didn’t even know I was nominated.”

He credits his work with the debate team, hosting a regional tournament on campus, work in the classroom setting, presentations at conferences and published works for his win.

Anyone interested in participating as a judge can contact Bryant at kbryant@tntech.edu or Metz at jmetz@tntech.edu.

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