For the first time since 2013, Belmont’s speech and debate team won the state championship at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association competition in February.
“We had this goal from the beginning,” said sophomore Tyler Redmon. “We set the bar high, but it was a team effort that got us here.”
That’s not to say the team expected to win.
“I was sort of shocked,” said freshman Deanna Medina. “We have a very small team compared to other schools, so it was surprising to win.”
Competing against larger schools like Middle Tennessee State University and University of Tennessee meant the Belmont team had to practice hard.
“The big thing was that we wanted to be good at everything,” said coach Jason Stahl. “Other teams had specialties, so we knew that if we wanted to win, we needed to specialize in everything.”
Even with all this strategizing, the team still wasn’t sure it would win.
“We were not in the lead until the last event,” said Stahl. “We won the individual events section by one point!”
Belmont finished first overall, coming in third in debate and first in individual events.
“It was pure practice that helped us win,” said Redmon.
Everyone on the team competed in at least three events, which Stahl feels gave them the edge over the competition.
“We were trying to cover everything without spreading ourselves too thin,” he said. “Everyone on the team pulled their weight, and that’s what put us over the top at the end of the day.”
This article written by India McCarty. Photo courtesy of the Belmont speech and debate team.