Team News


The Pejaver Memorial and Bull Dog Classic Swing tournament was held on MTSU's campus Nov. 1-3. MTSU Blue Raider Debate hosted the tournament and refrained from entering the tournament except as needed to make the brackets work for a successful tournament. Coach Richey entered students from his Comm 3210 Argumentation course as part of the Experiential Learning (EXL) project. The teams consisted of students who had not debated before and were helped in preparation by MTSU debaters. The EXL course took first place sweepstakes (no award was received since MTSU hosted the tournament). This is a major accomplishment for not only the students, but also a testament to the importance of the EXL program. Students gained real word experience learning to present and argue multiple topics against well-seasoned opponents. The team of Mitchell Brisbon & Elizabeth Bickel were the top seed in prelim rounds and they finished as semifinalists. The team of Audrey Jamison & MarQuella Matthews won 2nd place novice awards. The tournament was won by a hybrid team of Henry Mendoza from Walter State Community College and Colonial Geiger of MTSU. In IPDA, class member Curtis Campbell advanced to quarterfinals. MTSU debate travels next to Mississippi College for the Deep South Classic. For more information on EXL, please visit EXL's webpage.


Blue Raider Debate brought home multiple awards from the Valdosta State University Blazer Classic. The team earned 3rd place sweepstake award for IPDA and 3rd place sweepstakes by participating in both IPDA debate and NPDA debate. The team of Alex Lempin & Alvin Loyd where quarterfinalist in NPDA with an impressive 4-1 record. In novice IPDA Alvin Loyd took 2nd place for the tournament. Michaela Edwards and Marquwan Fultz were semifinalists with Stephen Duke was a quarterfinalist. Marquwan Fultz was named the top speaker of the tournament followed by Stephen Duke in 3rd place and Chris Wysocki in 6th place.


MTSU Blue Raider Debate attended the first annual King Classic hosted by Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. The team took 3rd place sweepstakes by participating in both IPDA debate and NPDA debate. Chris Wysocki & Alvin Loyd were quarterfinalists in NPDA. In Varsity IPDA, Hailey Lawson was a quarterfinalist as were Alvin Loyd and Chris Wysocki in the novice division. Dale Sikkema was a quarterfinalist in the professional division and was the 6th place speaker.


Blue Raider Debate had another successful debate weekend taking 3rd place Sweepstakes at the Smoky Mountain hosted by Walter State. Chris Wysocki won the 8th place speaker award. The team travels next to Morehouse College to participate in the King Classic.


Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Debate began its competitive season this past weekend at the University of Northern Georgia. The team took eleven competitors to compete in NPDA & IPDA debate formats. Of the roughly 20 colleges in attendance, MTSU won 2nd place sweepstakes in IPDA, 4th in NPDA and 3rd for the whole tournament combined. Individual debaters from MTSU won a total of 18 awards for advancing and speaking well. This caps off a week that began with the team's partnership with The American Democracy Project on Constitution Day for a debate on campus where team members debated the merits and flaws of the Dream Act. The team will next travel to Walter State the first weekend of October.

Individual winners!!!!!

  • NPDA (Parliamentary Debate)
  • 4th Place Varsity Speaker: Hailey Lawson
  • 17th Place Varsity Speaker: Colonial Gieger
  • IPDA (International Public Debate Association)
  • Varsity Quarterfinalist: Hailey Lawson
  • Novice Octofinalist:  Marquwan Fultz
  • Novice Octofinalist: Alvin Loyd
  • Novice Octofinalist: Micheala Edwards
  • Novice Octofinalist: Steven Saksa
  • Novice Octofinalist: Chris Wysocki
  • 3rd Place Speaker Varsity: Hailey Lawson
  • 9th Place Speaker Varsity: Stephen Duke
  • 14th Place Novice Speaker: Chris Wysocki
  • 10th Place Novice Speaker: Steven Saksa
  • 9th Place Novice Speaker: Marquwan Fultz
  • 5th Place Novice Speaker: Alvin Loyd
  • 7th Place Debut Speaker: Marquwan Fultz
  • 8th Place Debut Speaker: Steven Saksa
  • 12th Place Debut Speaker: Chris Wysocki
  • 15th Place Debut Speaker: Kellye Guinan



Middle Tennessee Started the semester well. The team traveled to University of Tennessee-Knoxville for the second annual Volunteer Classic. Joseph Huckleberry advanced to semi-finals in Professional IPDA. Tevin Mason advanced to quarter-finals in Novice IPDA after winning his Octo-Final round 3-0. Joseph Huckleberry was the 2nd place speaker and Marry Choate was the 5th place speaker in Professional IPDA. Hailey Lawson was the #1 speaker and followed by her partner Dale Sikkema as 2nd place speaker in Team IPDA. The team earned a 2nd place sweepstakes in Team IPDA, a 4th place sweepstakes in IPDA, and a 4th place sweepstakes for the whole tournament. It was a team effort and everyone contributed to the weekend's success!!!


The MTSU Debate Team travel to its final tournament of the semester, the Deep South, hosted by Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Dale Sikkema advanced to quarterfinals after breaking with a 4-2 record and winning his octofinal round on a 2-1. MTSU was well represented by Dale Sikkema, Hailey Lawson, Jackie Smith, CJ Moore, Blake Jennings, William Phillips, and Cassie Smith. The team starts the Spring semester early with a tournament at UT-Knoxille the first weekend of the semester!


The MTSU Debate Team debated against a team from Mazar-i-Sharif via Skype late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. MTSU team representing Hailey Lawson and Dale Sikkema debated against their Afghan counterparts about the merits of the internet promoting democracy. It was an excellent event for all parties involved! Visit MTSUNews or Sidelines for more information.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Team traveled to Belmont University (Nashville, TN) for the Porch Swing Classic. Novice Parliamentary Debate teams of Elijah Longwell & Stephen Duke and Rita Jones & Dianne Guierre broke to and advance to octofinals. The MTSU squad took third place sweepstakes for debate against stiff resistance from 15 universities and colleges.


The MTSU Debate team worked with MT10 and student programing for the 2012 Presidential Election Voting Night Viewing Party. Coach Patrick Richey moderated a panel of Hailey Lawson (representing Democrats), Stephen Duke (representing Republicans), and polling expert Dr. Ken Blake from the School of Mass Communication. The panel discussed local, state, and national politics and candidates during the three hour live broadcast.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Club hosted the 2nd Think Before You Vote Mock Presidential Debate. Team President Mary Choate followed in the footsteps of last year's President (Melissa Swauncy) and putting together a standing room only event in the new Student Union's Parliamentary room. Representing the Republican candidates were Dale Sikkema (Mitt Romney) and Stephen Duke (Paul Ryan). Lucas Osborne (Barak Obama) and William Phillips (Joe Biden) represented the Democrat Party. The debate was moderated by Assistant Dean of Liberal Art Dr. Jan Leone. After the debate, a panel consisting of Dr. Kaylene Gebert, Dr. Robb McDaniel, and Mrs. Mel Homan discussed the importance of the candidates and the 2012 presidential election. Visit MTSUNews, Sidelines or YouTube for more information.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debaters hosted the Naveen "Scott" Pajever Memorial Debate Tournament on MTSU's campus. Nine universities from throughout the region competed in Parliamentary and International Public Debate Association (IPDA). To make brackets, MTSU entered one team in each format. The team of William Phillips & Colonial Geiger was the 2nd place novice team in Team IPDA. The team of Lucas Osborne & CJ Moore broke to quarter finals in Parliamentary debate and was the 2nd place novice team. The squad was commended for how smooth the tournament was run. A special thanks to IPDA President Bob Alexander who traveled from Shreveport, Louisiana, and ran the tab room.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Team spent the weekend in East Tennessee at the Smoky Mountain Debate Tournament hosted by Walter State Community (Morristown, TN). Senior Michael Lynch won fifth place novice speaker. The teams of Linton Prieskorn & Tevin Mason, Lucas Osborn & Felicia Chunn, and Michael Lynch & Mel Potts all made it to quarterfinals.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debaters opened their debate season at the Henderson State Caddo Classic Warm-Up in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Sophomore Hailey Lawson broke in her first varsity tournament with a 4-2 win record taking the 9th spot.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Club and Zeta Chapter of Pi Kappa Delta hosted the Momentum Homeschool Debate League's Parliamentary and International Public Debate Association Tournament on MTSU's Campus.


MTSU Debaters Joseph Huckleberry, Melissa Swauncy, and Coach Richey taught a class at the Discovery School (Reeves Rogers Elementary) for 3, 4, & 5 graders about college debate. The team held a mock round with a question and answer session afterwards.


MTSU Blue Raider Debaters Cassie Smith, Dale Sikkema, Hailey Lawson, Mary Choate, and Melissa Swauncy were awarded the Naveen "Scott" Pejaver Memorial Scholarship for their hard work during 2011-2012 debate season.


The MTSU Blue Raider Debate Team held its first awards banquet on Sunday, April 22 at Just Love Coffee. All individual rewards were returned to the debaters who won them. Seniors Sara Page and De'Anwaine Moye were recognized for their hard work and received their Pi Kappa Delta Honor Cords. Lisa (Anderson) Moore and Margaret "Peg" McCree were inducted into the MTSU Debate Hall of Fame for their hard work over the previous three decades for MTSU Debate. A special thanks to Dean Mark Byrnes, Chair Jeff Gibson, and Speech Communication Coordinator Linda Seward for all their help and support. The team raised $300 in a silent auction to help with team expenses and scholarships.


MTSU Blue Raider Debate is closing their first season as an active team in many years. The year has been a busy year for these first time debaters. The year began with the hiring of a new Director of Forensics and Debate Coach Patrick "Pat" Richey. A new team was recruited the first week and the students jumped in feet first. The team quickly revived the Blue Raider Debate Club and the Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honor Society. The club has been active on campus recruiting, hosting The Great Debaters film, and an open Republican Primary Debate. The team traveled to eleven tournaments in five states. They won many awards and honors at the state and national level including all teams advancing to the elimination rounds at the state tournament. The team also boasted the 4th speaker in the nation at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament in Kansas City, Kansas, and was 2nd place in IPDA Debate as a team. MTSU Debate is back in full force! One needs only to see the trophy case that is overflowing with the many awards won this year. The team will close the year with an awards banquet to recognize the debaters for all their hard work this year. Next year already looks promising with new recruits from the Intrepid Home School Debate League and The Memphis Urban Debate League. The team intends to expand its travels, host a collegiate tournament, and continue to engage MTSU students including a mock Presidential Debate in late October before the election. For more information, please contact Director of Forensics Pat Richey at


Mary Choate and Melissa Swauncy were awarded Outstanding Leadership Award for their hard work as team leaders at the College of Liberal Arts Award Banquet on the night of April 14, 2012.


The Blue Raider Debate Team attended the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) National Tournament in Huntsville, Texas hosted by Sam Houston State University. Hailey Lawson, Jackie Smith, Melissa Swauncy, and Dale Sikkema competed for MTSU. Melissa Swauncy was 9th in the nation in varsity debate advanced to Octofinals. Coach Richey was elected to the IPDA Governing Board for a three year service term.


Mary Choate and Melissa Swauncy were awarded Outstanding Leadership Award for their hard work as team leaders at the College of Liberal Arts Award Banquet on the night of April 14, 2012.


The MTSU Debate team traveled to Kansas City, Kansas to attend the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. The squad, consisting of De'Anwaine Moye, Sara Page, Melissa Swauncy, Hailey Lawson, CJ Moore, Jackie Smith, Cassie Smith, Dale Sikkema, Josesph Huckleberry, and Mary Choate with judges Pat Richey, Becky Richey, Anthony Strohm II, and Frank Davis. The team did outstanding, unofficially (No sweepstakes were awarded for IPDA) taking second place sweepstakes in IPDA Debate. Hailey Lawson was the 4th best speaker in the nation in the novice division and Sara Page was 8th speaker in the nation in the varsity division. Haley Lawson, Sara Page, and Melissa Swauncy all advanced. Hailey was 9th in the nation and Sara and Melissa were tied for 5th in the nation. Sara also won an award for Superior performance in Impromptu Speaking.


MTSU Debate hosted the Think Before You Vote Republic Primary Debate. View the news release.


MTSU Debate took three teams to the TIFA state tournament at Tennessee Tech in Cookesville, TN and broke all three. MTSU was the only team to do so. The team of Joseph Huckleberry & Mary Choate went 4-0 and lost in octo-finals. The team of Jackie Smith & CJ Moore went 3-1 and lost in octo-finals. The team of Dale Sikkema & Hailey went  3-1. and advanced from octo-finals on a 3-0 before falling in quarterfinals. The team had an 84% preliminary win rate. MTSU was also represented in Impromptu Speaking with several high scores.


MTSU Blue Raider Debaters are sponsoring a showing of Denzel Washington's Great Debaters & The King's Speech.

February 2012

100 Years of MTSU Debate at Walker Library


The MTSU Debate Team traveled to Conway, AR to attend The Great Southern Classic at The University of Central Arkansas. In team debate, Jackie Smith and Cassie Smith went 2-2 missing breaking by speaker points. Dale Sikkema and Mary Choate also participated. In individual IPDA Cassie Smith advance to double octo-finals and was awarded the 3rd speaker. Jackie Smith went 3-3 and missed breaking by 6 speaker points. Mary Choate and Samantha Justilian both won two rounds over competitors in the Novice Division. Dale Sikkema went 3-3 in the varsity division missing breaking by speaker points. Jessica Robinson also went 3-3 in the professional division missing breaking by one win.


The MTSU Debate Team traveled to Knoxville, TN to attend The University of Tennessee Volunteer Classic. Parly Team Dale Sikkema and Hailey Lawson broke to quarter-finals winning beautiful orange wine flutes. The team of Cassie Smith and Jackie Smith went 2-2 in preliminary rounds missing breaking by speaker points. Samantha Justilian went maverick (no partner) and went 2-2, missing breaking by speaker points as well.

1/11/20 12

MTSU Blue Raider Debaters will host a display in the lobby of Walker Library celebrating 100 years of MTSU debate. MTSU has a rich history of competitive debate that began with the founding of the University and continues to excel today. Please visit the display if you get a chance. It will be in the lobby of Walker Library throughout the month of February. Veneratio Pro Victoria


Coach Richey, Melissa Swauncey, Jessica Robinson, and Dale Sikkema helped judge the Music City Marvel Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by Intrepid Debate and Speech Home School Debate League.


The MTSU Debate Team traveled to Clinton (Jackson), MS to attend the Mississippi College Deep South Debates. Cassie Smith was a quaterfinalist in the novice division. Hailey Lawson was an octofinalist in the novice division. Melissa Swauncy and Hailey Lawson both won speaker awards. Joseph Huckleberry also did well in his first IPDA outing!


The MTSU Debate Team traveled to Jackson, TN to attend Union University's Bulldog Classic. Melissa Swauncy was an octofinalist in Varsity with an impressive six prelim wins. Amanda Harris and Hailey Lawson were all octofinalist in Novice. Jessica Robinson continued to improve taking out two opponents. The team had the highest percentage of wins.


The MTSU Debate Team travelled to Johnson City, TN for the Carson Newman & Belmont Porch Swing. The team of Cassie Smith and Hailey Lawson won half of their rounds and Melissa Swauncy and Sara Page also did well. Sara Page won fifth place Impromtu Speaking.


The MTSU Debate Team travelled to the Walter State Smoky Mountain Debate Tournament-Freshman Dale Sikkema won a top speaker gavel. If it were a normal tournament, we would have broken two of our four teams (Sophomore Melissa Swauncy/Senior De'Antwaine Moye & Junior Joseph Huckleberry/Junior Mary Choate). Freshamn Jackie Smith, Freshman Cassie Smith, and Freshman Dale Sikkema as did well. As a team, MTSU Debate was in a three way tie for second place sweepstakes.


Coach Richey was invited to attend the St. James Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama to scout for possible debaters for next year.


The Middle Tennessee State University Debate Team attended its first tournament of the season as a new team. The team traveled to Monticello, Arkansas to compete in the Weevil Wars named after the school's mascot, the boll weevil. Senior Jessica Robinson, Freshman Melissa Swauncy, and Freshman Myles Rowe represented the team at the tournament against ten other debate teams. Swauncy placed 9th of 33 debaters in her field as second seed with an outstanding 6-0 preliminary record. Rowe placed 17th of 35 debaters missing out-rounds by two speaker points. Robinson did well including rounds with last year's national champion. The team which has never competed in IPDA debate placed 4th of 10 teams and 75+ debaters.


Campus Debate Team Re-instituted


MTSU Debate Tradition Continues: The Daily News Journal: Murfreesboro, TN


"Resolved" ... Coach Patrick Richey interviewed on On The Record by Gina Logue.


MTSU Debate will host an open house meet/greet in KUC 312 on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. This is a great opportunity to meet new Coach Patrick Richey and see the debate practice room, as well as ask questions about the team. The team is open to all academically eligible students at MTSU.