Debate Team Completes Inaugural Fall 2021 Season

DBU Debate Team Fall 2021

As the Dallas Baptist University Debate Team brings its inaugural Fall 2021 season to a close, mid-season rankings from the International Public Debate Association place its performance as the #5 overall debate program in the United States, finishing the semester with numerous national championship titles in a field of over 80 universities. Competing in both the individual (IPDA) and team (TIPDA) formats of International Public Debate, DBU has shattered expectations for a first-year program by securing five national championship titles this Fall:

  • #1 TIPDA squad (first of 17 universities)
  • #1 TIPDA speaker (Jess Perez)
  • #1 Junior Varsity IDPA squad (first of 42 universities)
  • #1 Junior Varsity IDPA debater (Greyson Goebel)
  • #1 Junior Varsity IDPA speaker (Greyson Goebel)

This semester, members attended a mix of virtual and in-person tournaments hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi, Middle Tennessee State University, Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and East Texas Baptist University, bringing home nearly 60 awards and debating 349 rounds on topics ranging from education to healthcare, current events, sports, economics, national security, and pop culture.

DBU's team routinely won sweepstakes awards at each tournament they attended, including ETBU's Tiger Award, recognizing DBU for its performance as the school with the highest overall win/loss percentage (71%) at the 2021 Tiger Invitational Debate Tournament.

In the field of team debate (TIPDA), DBU was crowned the undefeated Fall semester national sweepstakes champions, winning first place sweepstakes at every tournament that offered the event. Currently, DBU's TIPDA program boasts 60 points overall, maintaining a sizable lead over the second (Union University) and third place programs (three-way tie between ACU, ASU, and MSU), coming in at 40 and 32 points respectively.

Additionally, Jess Perez (Freshman - Broadcast & Digital Media Major) is locked in a three-way tie with students from Oklahoma Baptist and Union University for the title of mid-season TIPDA national speaking champion. Perez is a first-year debater, and by securing this national title, she has demonstrated her speaking skills by outperforming students from across all four divisions of competition, taking home the first place speaking award at the largest TIPDA tournament of the season. Debaters Harmony Miller and Luke Castle have also been recognized with TIPDA speaking awards.

At Louisiana State - Shreveport, the team of Katy Branch (Sophomore - Biology Major) & Luke Castle (Freshman - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Major) distinguished themselves as TIPDA tournament champions, bringing home DBU's first finals round victory. In addition to the success of Branch & Castle, the DBU teams of Joseph Alcazar & Greyson Goebel and Madi Kitner & Perez both achieved flawless preliminary records at Middle Tennessee State, while the teams of Justin Hamilton & Dayton Thomas and Castle & Miller joined them and the others in breaking to elimination rounds throughout the season. Overall, every member of DBU's TIPDA squad has progressed from preliminary to single-elimination debates.

In novice division IPDA, DBU's program ranks within the national top ten, with competitors Valerie Colbert (Sophomore - Music Business Major) and Jess Perez breaking to elimination rounds at every tournament they have attended. Furthermore, Perez further set herself above the competition by securing a flawless 7-0 preliminary record at LSUS, earning her the title of the tournament's first place preliminary seed. Additionally, novice members Josh Ballard, Madi Kitner, and Mariah Parker have all joined Colbert and Perez in breaking to elimination rounds, with Ballard, Kitner, and Perez receiving additional awards as speakers.

In the Junior Varsity IPDA division, DBU has consistently risen above the competition, ending the Fall semester as the highest ranked JV squad in the United States. Coming in at 103 points, DBU's JV debaters have surpassed programs from 42 universities, with competitors Branch, Castle, Goebel, and Miller breaking to elimination rounds at every tournament that they have attended. In addition to the aforementioned competitors, Alcazar, Ely, Hamilton, and Thomas have also demonstrated continued success, with all eight JV debaters progressing past preliminary rounds on multiple occasions.

Joseph Alcazar and Greyson Goebel secured positions as first place preliminary seeds at MTSU and ETBU respectively, while Katy Branch and Goebel managed to progress to the division's final elimination rounds at ETBU and LSUS, Branch doing so at her first ever competition in IPDA style debate. Furthermore, at ETBU, DBU managed to lock out semifinals, with all six attending debaters (Goebel, Branch, Hamilton, Miller, Alcazar, and Castle) taking home the tournament's highest awards in that order, with Goebel championing the tournament on a flawless 10-0 record.

Team President, Greyson Goebel (Junior - Politics, Philosophy, & Economics Major) has also distinguished himself on a national level. Currently, he is ranked as the reigning United States champion in Junior Varsity IPDA debate, taking home the mid-season titles of first place debater and first place speaker within the division, beating out over 138 competitors nationwide with a winning record of over 81%. Goebel is also one of five debaters to receive the 2021 LSUS Pilot Award, recognizing outstanding performance as a competitor.

Furthermore, Junior Varsity debaters Joseph Alcazar (Junior - Politics, Philosophy, & Economics Major) and Luke Castle have risen above the competition as well, with current national rankings placing them at 6th place and 10th place JV IPDA debaters respectively. Moreover, Harmony Miller (Freshman - Politics, Philosophy, & Economics Major) has consistently shone as well, earning multiple speaking awards and the mid-season national title of 3rd place JV division speaker, with Alcazar, Branch, and Ely also being recognized with JV speaking awards. DBU is the only university nationwide to have five nationally ranked JV speakers.

Heading into the Spring 2022 season, DBU is scheduled to attend preliminary tournaments in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, ultimately closing the semester at the International Public Debate Association's National Championship Tournament, hosted by Abilene Christian University in April.

DBU's debate team is student led and coached by a four member officer board: Greyson Goebel (President), Jascha Ely (Vice President), Joseph Alcazar (Secretary), and Harmony Miller (Social Director) with help from the program's faculty sponsor, Jonathan Teat (Vice President for Administration and Enrollment). In addition to leadership, DBU debate was represented by Josh Ballard, Katy Branch, Luke Castle, Valerie Colbert, Miranda Flores, Justin Hamilton, Madi Kitner, Mariah Parker, Jess Perez, and Dayton Thomas. Applications to join the team open every Fall, and interested students can contact the team at or visit the debate team website for more information.

Written by Greyson Goebel

Greyson Goebel is the 2021-2022 President and Co-Founder of the Patriot Debate Team at Dallas Baptist University.