Howard Payne University’s speech and debate team, the Student Speaker Bureau, recently hosted the Fall 2012 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state championship tournament. HPU received several honors including Debate Sweepstakes and 2nd Place Overall.

The university hosted 19 institutions from Texas and other southern states and almost 200 people including competitors, coaches and judges. With 31 teams competing, the event had the largest Fall TIFA debate participation ever.

“Hosting this tournament for the first time on the HPU campus was a privilege and everything went smoothly,” said Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the communication department and Student Speaker Bureau (SSB) coach. “We were delighted to have so many guests on campus competing.”

HPU had the top two debate teams, winning the Debate Sweepstakes. The teams were comprised of Jake Aschmutat, a senior from Corpus Christi, and Ben Palmer, a junior from Van; and Katie Rose Bonner, a sophomore from Lytle, and Catherine Mullaney, a junior from Boylston, Mass.

The SSB's Second Place Overall win included points earned from debate and individual events. Individual scores are as follows: Aschmutat, second place Parliamentary Debate Speaking, fifth place Impromptu Speaking, sixth place Impromptu Speaking; Bonner, third place Persuasive Speaking, fifth place Persuasive Speaking, Impromptu Speaking semifinalist; Timothy Hardy, a junior from Corpus Christi, fifth place Parliamentary Debate Speaking; Palmer, seventh place Parliamentary Debate Speaking, Impromptu Speaking semifinalist; and Mullaney, ninth place Parliamentary Debate Speaking. Also competing were Marcos Corley, Sarah Owens, Kaleigh Tankersley, Jessica Ramirez and Dorie Walton. Kim Bryant, associate professor of communication, also served as coach.

“I’m so proud of our team’s winning performance at this tournament,” Welker said. “It’s always nice to win but especially when you get to win on your own turf.”