BHSU students competed in the Pi Kappa Delta National Debate Tournament recently where Megan Wattenhofer, biology major from Rapid City, placed first in novice Individual Parliamentary Debate (IPDA), the first time in school history a debater has achieved a national championship. L to R: Dylan Dobbs, chemistry major from Buffalo Gap; Wattenhofer, Nick Montieth, political science major from Spearfish; Alissa Iverson, biology and chemistry major from Spearfish; and Broc Hall, biology major from Spearfish.
The Black Hills State University Debate Team won a national title at the Pi Kappa Delta National Debate Tournament in Lexington, Ky., recently.
The national debate win is a first in BHSU history. Megan Wattenhofer, biology major from Rapid City, won the novice Individual Parliamentary Debate (IPDA), at the national tournament. She also took first for speaker points.
In only their second tournament, Broc Hall, biology major from Spearfish, and Nick Montieth, political science major from Spearfish, advanced to the octafinals round in novice National Parliamentary Debate (NPDA).
Alissa Iverson, biology and chemistry major from Spearfish, said BHSU competed alongside 87 schools, 364 debaters, and nearly 2,000 individual entries at the tournament.
“National tournaments are always a great way to get experience and watch incredible teams, but Megan winning first place and Nick and Broc breaking to the elimination rounds were something tangible that we could celebrate,” said Iverson, “This success will continue to inspire us and future debaters at Black Hills State.”
BHSU has a strong history of debate on campus, supporting a debate team for more than 100 years. Pi Kappa Delta, the national honor society for collegiate speech and debate, hosts the National Tournament each year. BHSU has been a member of Pi Kappa Delta since 1955.
During last year’s national tournament, Brittany Thompson, political science and psychology major from Spearfish, placed in the top 20 of all individual parliamentary debaters.
Iverson said participating in debate has helped develop her ethics, logic, and understanding of policies, attributes she says are important for all citizens.
“As a biology student, I appreciate the critical thinking and communication skills that come from debate, along with the understanding that there are always two sides to an argument,” said Iverson.
The Debate Team adviser is Dr. Ryan Clark, associate professor of communication studies at BHSU. After returning from the National Tournament, BHSU Debate ended their season by winning in a 4-0 decision against South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in the Black Hills Cup.