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Arguing Bucs Finish First at National Forensics Tournament in Tennessee

March 12, 2024

The Whitworth University forensics team won the national championship in debate at the National Christian College Forensics Association’s tournament held March 7-9 in Nashville, Tenn. 

Seventeen teams from 14 states attended the tournament held at Belmont University. The Arguing Bucs finished ahead of national rivals including California Baptist University, Colorado Christian University and Dordt University. The team took third place in speech and second place in the combined sweepstakes.

Emma Maple ’24 won the overall tournament individual championship. This is the third year in a row the top competitor has been a Whitworth student. Five Pirates came home as national champions in debate, and two came home as individual speech national champions.  

In the junior division, Avery Hamilton ’27 was the national champion. In the novice division, Owen Ronningen ’27 and Ize Upham ’27 were co-national champions closing out the final round.

The team is coached by Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies, Rylee Walter ’19 and Lori Welch ’90.

The team’s next tournament is a debate-only tournament on March 22-24 at Bossier Parrish Community College in Shreveport, La. 

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of about 2,500 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or