Speech and Debate Team

Director of Speech & Debate

Duncan Photo

Aaron Duncan
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
410 Oldfather Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0329
Email: aduncan3@unl.edu

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Donald O. Olson Memorial Fund for Speech & Debate
All gifts directed toward this fund will be used to cover the expenses needed to travel, register students for competition, host tournaments, and purchase supplies.

Cornhuskers Speech and Debate Achievements

  • 8th place finish in Speech at the American Forensics Association's National Individual Events Tournament 2017
  • 5th place finish in Debate at the National Forensics Association's Annual Tournament 2017
  • Six consecutive Big Ten Conference Challenge Tournament Championships
  • Six individual national champions since 2000 and 8 national runners up since 2000
  • National champions in all three areas of individual events competition
  • Speech team has placed in the top ten in the nation for 10 consecutive years
  • Team has placed among top twenty teams nationally for the past twenty two years years in a row
  • One of only two teams in the country to place in the top 10 in the nation in both Individual Events and Lincoln Douglas Debate
  • 2nd and 3rd place finishes in Lincoln Douglas Debate at Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament

UNL Speech and Debate vs. British Debate in E.N. Thompson Forum 2014-2015: "Are Social Media A Threat To Human Creativity?"

UNL Speech and Debate Team comes up with big wins in 143rd season

UNL Speech and Debate Team comes up with big wins in 143rd Season

Lincoln, Neb., Date -- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Speech and Debate team finished its 143rd season on a high note with strong performances at two national tournaments. UNL Speech students placed seventh in the nation and first among all teams from the Big Ten competing at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) on April 5-7 on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. A total of 88 schools and 500 students competed at the tournament. With this win, the speech team placed in the top ten for the sixth straight year and in the top 20 teams for the 19th straight year.

The highlights of the national tournament included senior and Lincoln native Grace Kluck being named to the National All-American team, senior Josh Planos of Omaha placing 4th in Program Oral Interpretation, junior Reece Ristau of Omaha placing 5th in Communication Analysis, and senior Amanda Stoffel of Raymond placing 6th in Communication Analysis. Director of Speech & Debate Dr. Aaron Duncan also received the District Four Outstanding Coach Award.

Only the top 10 percent of student speakers nationally qualify to compete at the AFA-NIET tournament and only the top 15 percent of those select students advance to elimination rounds at the competition. This year nineteen UNL students qualified for the tournament in 70 different events and twelve students advanced to elimination rounds. Kluck became the seventh UNL student in the last ten years to be was named to the AFA-NEIT All-American Team, which is composed of a dozen students from around the country who have demonstrated excellence in classroom, in their communities, and in competitive speech.

On April 18-21, representatives from UNL’s Debate team competed at the National Forensics Association’s Tournament of Champions (NFA-TC) on the campus of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and captured 8th place. Junior Derrick Stevens and freshmen Jackson Slechta, both of Lincoln, led the young debate squad each compiling a 4-2 preliminary record before losing on 2-1 decisions in elimination rounds. Overall the UNL team finished with 48 points and tied for 8th place with Rice University. UNL was only one of two teams in the nation to place in top ten at both AFA-NIET and the NFA-TC.

Among other season highlights was the Speech and Debate team’s win at the Conference Challenge Tournament at Northwestern University, where the team claimed UNL’s its third Big Ten Tournament victory.

Speech and Debate Team takes delegation to China

Speech and Debate Team takes delegation to China

Three UNL forensics and debate team members recently played equal parts teacher and ambassador when they traveled to China to serve as speech coaches for a class at Xi’an Jaiotong University.

The team members spent nine days, May 15-24, fully immersed with a group of Chinese students during speech and debate classes, helping the students prepare for a debate, answering questions regarding American speech and debate, and serving as judges in the classroom and for a public speaking contest. Each student was partnered with a Xi’an Jiaotong University student for a debate at the end of the session, which drew a standing-room only crowd, Duncan said. Derrick Stevens, Daniel Wheaton and Jeffery Garst represented the UNL team, and were accompanied by Duncan, and graduate assistant coach Allison Bonander. A major part of the trip was cultural exchange, Duncan said. Students absorbed the Chinese culture and found much that surprised them. Duncan said the trip was not only incredibly informative for his students, but also for himself, the American Exchange Center and teachers at Xi’an Jiaotong University.

"We are hopeful that this visit will be the start of a long collaborative process between the two university speech and debate teams,” Duncan said. “Plans are currently being made for the two teams to engage in debates via the Internet and for UNL coaching staff members hold interactive online workshops with members of Jiaotong team."

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.