Speech and Debate Team

Director of Speech & Debate
Duncan Photo

Dr. Aaron Duncan
375 Pound Hall
Email: aduncan3@unl.edu

Associate Director

Allison Bonander

Dr. Allison Bonander
373 Pound Hall

Associate Director

Image of Justin Kirk

Dr. Justin Kirk
371 Pound Hall

Participant Resources

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Cornhuskers Speech and Debate Achievements

  • Becca Human 2019 National Champion Extemporaneous Speaking at the American Forensics Association's National Individual Events Tournament 
  • Colten White 2018 National Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate
  • 3rd place finish in Debate at the National Forensics Association's Annual Tournament 2018
  • 8th place finish in Speech at the American Forensics Association's National Individual Events Tournament 2019
  • Seven Big Ten Conference Challenge Tournament Championships
  • Eight individual national champions since 2000 and 8 national runners up since 2000
  • National champions in all three areas of individual events competition in speech and in debate
  • Team has placed among top twenty teams nationally for the past twenty three years years in a row
  • One of only two teams in the country to place in the top 15 in the nation in both Individual Events and Lincoln Douglas Debate

Colten White Wins National Championshop in Debate

Photo Credit:

Click here to read more about Colten's historic win! 

UNL Speech and Debate vs. British Debate in E.N. Thompson Forum 2017-2018: "Is Regulation of Social Media Necessary to Protect Democracy?"

Watch the UNL Speech & Debate Take on the British National Team                                                                         

UNL Speech & Debate Win 7th Straight Big Ten Tournament Title 


Lincoln, Neb., January 22nd, 2018 -- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Speech & Debate Team became seven time champions of the Big Ten with its victory at the Conference Challenge Tournament, January 21st at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE. 

UNL led the field with a point total of 145 points, ahead of second-place finisher Northwestern University with 117 points. In addition to the team championship, in a conference that has a long tradition of academic excellence and distinction in speech and debate, UNL students captured six of eleven individual Big Ten Tournament titles. The team’s victory was led by senior co-captain Mattison Merritt of Lincoln, who was named top individual speaker at the tournament.  The second and third overall speaker awards went to junior Becca Human of Gretna and senior Co-captain Sam Baue of Columbus.  Merritt took individual titles in after dinner speaking, dramatic interpretation, and duo interpretation with his partner sophomore Mia Virgillito of Gretna.  This was Merritt’s third straight conference win in dramatic interpretation and the eighth individual title of her career. Fellow senior co-captains Chloe Meier of Roca won top honors in prose interpretation.  Human also won persuasive speaking and sophomore Jordan Duffin Wong of Kearney won impromptu speaking.

 UNL Speech and Debate Director Dr. Aaron Duncan summed up the team’s performance, “We have great here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  They work hard, they sacrifice, and they care about each other and this team.  Too often we decry this generation for not caring, but these students care deeply about the world around them and they passionate about so many issue.  Our job as coaches is to help them to find their voices and channel that passion.”

Co-captain Merritt credit the win to a team commitment from everyone on the team.  Merritt stated, “It’s amazing being part of a team that’s committed to supporting each other whether ti be while running events in our team room or performing in a final round.”  Meier continued, “The support, dedication, and hard work from every students and coach make it possible of us to compete at this level.”  The students of the both the speech and debate teams have been competing since September and are preparing for their national tournaments, which will be held at Colorado College in Colorado, Springs and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in April. 

2013 UNL alumnus Nick Herink performs his Prose Interpretation that earned him second place in the nation at both American Forensics Association’s and National Forensics Association’s National Tournament.