Published on March 7, 2023 by Ryan Galloway  
Sam Debate at Nationals
Samford debaters (left to right) Praise Kelly-Williams, Ella Ford, Sarah Chew, Mary Grace Hammond, Grace Scott, Lucy Eubanks, and Madison Hackett at the American Debate Association national tournament. (Photograph Courtesy: Samford Debate)

Samford University just returned from an incredibly successful national tournament hosted by the American Debate Association at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., from March 3-5. Sophomore Sarah Chew and freshman Ella Ford took second place in the novice division, defeating Monmouth University, the University of Indiana, the University of Houston, George Mason University, and Liberty University en route to the finals. Chew won third speaker at the tournament, and Ford won top speaker, giving her a legitimate claim to being the best first-year debater in the United States.

"Our amazing successes at ADA Nationals cap off an incredible year for the debate season,"Executive Director of Debate Ryan Galloway said. "Our debaters worked extremely hard all season, set high goals and exceeded them. I am so proud of how well they've represented the university."

Sophomores Mary Grace Hammond and Madison Hackett also cleared in novice, making it to the elite eight and defeating Monmouth University, Indiana University, and George Mason University.

Senior Lucy Eubanks and sophomore Praise Kelly-Williams made it to the sweet sixteen in novice, defeating the University of Houston, Monmouth University, New School, and Wayne State University. Eubanks will graduate in the spring, making this her last debate tournament.

Sophomores Abby Montgomery and Grace Scott competed in Junior Varsity, making it to the sweet sixteen and defeating  George Mason University, Penn State University, Missouri State, and the University of Houston. Montgomery won eighth speaker.

Junior Grace Blackwell and sophomore TJ Riggs competed in the varsity division, defeating Missouri State University and the University of Georgia teams.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.