March 26, 2015
15-93

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Kyle Denslow Wins National Championship for VSU Debate

The Valdosta State University Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team won first place in International Public Debate Association, Open Division, and second place in National Parliamentary Debate Association, Open Division, events at the Pi Kappa Delta 2015 National Tournament and Convention, held March 4-8 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Pictured, from left to right, are Dr. Michael H. Eaves, director of forensics and a speech communication professor in the Department of Communication Arts; Hannah Tabrizi, a junior from McDonough; Allante Fairley, a junior from Kingsland; Mercy Dahn, a senior from Clarkson; Kyle Denslow, a senior from Marietta; and Keven Rudrow, assistant director of forensics. 

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team’s Kyle Denslow won top honors at the Pi Kappa Delta 2015 National Tournament and Convention, held March 4-8 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

“I made it a point to not leave VSU without winning a tournament,” said the 22-year-old from Marietta who expects to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, concentration in public law. He plans to attend the University of Georgia School of Law in the fall.

Denslow competed in the Open Division of the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) — one-on-one format — portion of the Pi Kappa Delta 2015 National Tournament and Convention. He competed in six rounds and won all of them.

"I was nervous that I had dropped a couple early rounds and that I had to play catch up the rest of the tournament,” he shared. “There were a couple rounds I felt confident that I had won, but others were truly up in the air. There were a lot of talented individuals represented amongst the 62 debaters in the Open Division …. Competition was stiff.”

“Winning was completely unexpected because in IPDA judges do not disclose their decision to debaters after rounds,” he continued. “We did not know our records until awards on the last day. When I heard the announcer get to the No. 1 spot and call out VSU, I thought my teammate, Allante Fairley, had won the title. When I heard my name, it was definitely a surreal experience.”

Denslow’s final opponent was Will Wheeler from Southwest Baptist University of Bolivar, Missouri. His final topic put him on the affirmative side of “the media should come clean.” His primary argument was an adaptation of Gatekeeping Theory — one person, the gatekeeper, decides what information others should receive.

“Will was very well spoken, and SBU has a good reputation for being competitive at debate,” he said.

Denslow first participated in debate during the 2013-2014 academic year. However, after only a couple of tournaments, he had to take a hiatus due to work commitments. When he decided to return during his final year at VSU, he chose to make debate a priority and ended up winning a national championship title.

Debaters from 80 schools in more than 30 states attended the Pi Kappa Delta 2015 National Tournament and Convention.

VSU’s Mercy Dahn, a senior from Clarkson, and Hannah Tabrizi, a junior from McDonough, finished second in the Open Division of the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), or two-on-two, portion of the tournament. They were just a few speaker points from also winning a national championship title, noted Dr. Michael H. Eaves, director of forensics and a speech communication professor in the Department of Communication Arts.

Allante Fairley, a junior from Kingsland, secured three key debate victories against some of the nation's best, including powerhouse Boise State University of Boise, Idaho, Eaves added.

Eaves and Keven Rudrow, assistant director of forensics, coach VSU’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team. Rudrow graduated from the university in December 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same field.  

The VSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team is open to all majors on campus and does not require previous experience, Eaves noted. The team competes in regional and national level competitions and participates in parliamentary debate as well as individual events, including impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, informative speaking, persuasion, dramatic interpretation, dramatic duo, poetry interpretation, and more.

Contact Dr. Michael H. Eaves at (229) 259-5116 or meaves@valdosta.edu for more information.

On the Web:

http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/arts/communication-arts/welcome.php


Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.

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