Texas Tech University

TTU Debate Team Earns National Championship Title

March 25, 2019

For the first time in the history of its program, the Parliamentary Debate Team in the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University has emerged as champions in this year's National Round Robin tournament.

Texas Tech GT, the team composed of Max Groznik, a senior from Portland, Oregon and Fiker Tesfaye, a junior from Corinth, came out on top after completing five grueling debates against other prestigious colleges.

Max Groznik and Fiker Tesfaye
Max Groznik and Fiker Tesfaye

Tesfaye also earned the title of Top Speaker while teammate Groznik ended up in fourth place in speaking at the tournament.

The other team, Texas Tech DG, comprised of Texas Tech students Maria DeMarco, a junior from Lubbock and Cody Gustafson, a junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, also finished well in fourth place in the overall tournament.

Cody Gustafson and Maria DeMarco
Cody Gustafson and Maria DeMarco

"I am so proud of these students for their hard work, dedication and consistent ability to raise their level of competition," said Adam Testerman, director of forensics and instructor in the College of Media & Communication. "The program has reached new heights of excellence the past few years and this season has continued that trajectory."

Held on the University of California-Berkley campus on March 2-3, the invitation-only contest included two teams from each participating college such as Cal Berkley, Western Washington and Rice.

“The teams are outstanding ambassadors for TTU Debate and Texas Tech University,” said Todd Chambers, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate affairs in CoMC. “We are very proud of their accomplishments and there's still more to come!”

Each two-person team in the event completed two full days of competitive debates in what the tournament website refers to as “the premier parliamentary debate event in terms of rigor, variety of styles, research and depth.”

“Debate is probably the top student academic intellectual competition among universities,” said David D. Perlmutter, professor and CoMC dean. “We are in awe that our team took on and defeated the giants.”

Texas Tech debate holds two NPDA National Championships (2008 and 2010) and one NPTE top speaker (2010) and consistently places in the top five at nationals. The debate team had one of the best seasons in 2018, placing three pairs in the top six at NPTE and three others in the top eight at NPDA.

Credit: Contributions from George Watson and Liz Inskip-Paulk.


Read more news about the College of Media & Communication.