SMU Debate Team Rises to Top Ten National IPDA Ranking

Meadows students Ngo, Pittman score high in junior varsity division

Meadows students Audrey Ngo (center, with two trophies) and Connor Pittman (second from right) were among the top competitors in a recent IPDA debate competition.

SMU’s nationally ranked Debate Team competed in Marshall, Texas at East Texas Baptist University over the weekend of November 10-11 and came away with wins and accolades, including joining the ranks of the Top Ten U.S. debate teams as determined by the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). More than 70 universities and colleges participate in IPDA debates including University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Texas A&M, University of Virginia, University of Tennessee and Idaho State University.

In current national rankings, SMU’s novice debate squad is ranked second, topped only by Union University of Jackson, Tenn. SMU’s combined novice/junior varsity/varsity squad is ranked seventh in the nation. SMU students Matthew Lucci and Maggie Cook Allen are ranked first and third nationally as individual speakers in novice, the highest national squad rankings of SMU debate in more than 10 years.

During the competition, Meadows film student Audrey Ngo (B.A. French ’20) was awarded highest-rated “first speaker” by the competition’s seven judges in the junior varsity division after completing a 5-2 record in preliminary rounds. Journalism, political science and human rights triple-major Connor Pittman (’21) scored three wins and four losses in the junior varsity division.

SMU debaters are coached by alumnus Jaden Warren (’17; top speaker at the 2016 Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics championships in Lexington, Ky.); SMU Lecturer in English Ross Sloan; and Keith Milstead, president of the International Public Debate Association. The SMU debate program is directed by Meadows Associate Professor Dr. Ben Voth. The SMU debate program is supported by SMU Meadows School of the Arts and SMU Student Affairs.

Read more about SMU Debate.