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ETBU Debater Wins Championship

December 13, 2015

MARSHALL, Texas (12/07/15) -  The East Texas Baptist University Debate Team competed at the Mississippi College Deep South Debate Tournament December 4-5 in Clinton, Miss. and one ETBU competitor came away as the Novice Division Champion. 

Sophomore Harleigh Parrish of Huntington, competing in only her third collegiate debate tournament, advanced to the elimination rounds for the first time. She compiled a 5-1 preliminary record and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals. She won her first elimination round and was paired against ETBU teammate Telema Blackman, a sophomore from Alexandria, La., in the semifinal round. Since Parrish was the higher seeded competitor, ETBU debate team coach Dr. Cole Franklin advanced her to the final round over Blackman. 

Blackman finished the tournament with a 5-3 overall record and was the second place speaker in the Novice division. In the final round, Parrish defeated her competitor on a 2-1 judges' decision. She finished the tournament with an overall record of 8 wins and 1 loss. Parrish was also the fourth ranked speaker in the Novice division.

In the Professional division, Dr. Franklin posted a 3-3 preliminary record. He advanced to the quarterfinal round, but was defeated. He was also the third ranked speaker in the Professional division. 

Other ETBU competitors at the tournament included, junior Katelynn "Ro" Burns of Winnsboro, senior Tanner Matthews of Joshua, and sophomore Charles Quigley of Houston. 

"This was a good weekend," Dr. Franklin said. "I am extremely proud of and happy for Harleigh and Telema. They are both extraordinary debaters and if they had not been matched against one another in the semifinal round, it is quite likely ETBU would have the Novice champion and runner-up. This is a very young team and we look forward to continued success in the coming months and years."

The ETBU squad will next compete at the Louisiana State University at Shreveport Southern Forensics Championship debate tournament January 29-31. 

The ETBU debate team is open to any ETBU student, faculty or staff member that would like to participate. No experience is required. For more information about the ETBU debate team, please contact Dr. Cole Franklin at 903.923.2288 or email