Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-09-24


A young Samford University debate team is starting the season in high fashion. In their first competiton of the year, junior varsity debaters Kaitlin Defoor and Robert Walker brought home top honors from a  tournament hosted by Georgia State University Sept. 17-20.

Defoor, a sophomore, and Walker, a freshman, defeated a University of Louisiana Lafayette team on a 3-0 decision in the final round. The pair earlier bested Vanderbilt University in a 3-0 decision in the semi-final round and University of South Florida-St. Petersburg in a 3-0 decision in the quarter final. They won five of six preliminary rounds to qualify for the final rounds.

“Although Samford has been to the finals in junior varsity in previous years,” said debate coach Abi Williams, “this is the first time in recent memory that we’ve had a team win the tournament.”

Both debaters were cited individually.  Walker, a psychology major from Bonaire, Ga., was named second place over all speaker. Defoor, a political science major from Resaca, Ga.,  was named fifth place speaker.

Also in junior varsity completion, freshmen Garrett Vande Kamp and Matt Sessions, in their first-ever college debate, advanced to the quarter-final round before losing a close 2-1 decision to a University of Louisiana Lafayette team.

Samford varsity debaters Logan Gramzinski and Dan Bagwell finished preliminary rounds as the 22nd seed out of 170 competing teams. They were defeated in an elimination round by a top 25 team from the University of Georgia.


About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.