2016-17 Season

Team Results 2016-2017

Rice University Speech and Debate Wins National Championship and 60 Awards So Far in Spring ’17!

The George R. Brown Forensics Society, Rice’s speech and debate team, finished the year ranked 1st in the nation in in its division in speech and 4th in the nation in debate!

This is an incredible accomplishment by our undergraduate team, who are competing with teams that often have double or triple their numbers and are, in many cases, fielding academic competitors who are attending college on speech or debate scholarships.

Listed below are the results from the Spring semester tournaments. Adding to the measure of success, please note that not all competitors attend all tournaments listed, showing Rice’s versatility and talent.

National Forensics Association National Championship, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, April 13-17, 2017. 1149 entries from 66 schools.

Rice was represented by Seniors Allison McKibban and Matt Proffitt, who brought home a National Championship in President’s III Division Sweepstakes.


Allison McKibban:
4th Place National Champion in Extemporaneous (current events) Speaking. This is out of 150 entrants.
Quarter Finalist, Persuasive Speaking (top 24 out of 133)
Semifinalist, Impromptu Speaking (top 12 out of 175)

American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament, April 1-3 at Bradley University, Peoria, IL.

Six students represented Rice in 17 events at Speech Nationals. This prestigious tournament is composed exclusively of students that have reached finals and placed highly at three separate tournaments in an event. Simply qualifying for the tournament is a tremendous honor. 1395 entries from 75 schools.

Allison McKibban: Quarterfinalist (top 24 out of 130), Impromptu Speaking

Also qualified:
Matt Proffitt: Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking
Allison McKibban: Communication Analysis, Extemporaneous Speaking, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking
Gennifer Geer: Extemporaneous Speaking, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking
Tia Liu: Extemporaneous Speaking, Persuasive Speaking
Summar McGee: After Dinner Speaking, Persuasive Speaking
Isaiah Rodriguez: After Dinner Speaking

Other awards:

David Worth was awarded the Distinguished Service Award, the organization’s highest honor, and was also recognized for 25 years of attendance at the tournament.

National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, March 14-16 In Pueblo, CO

This is a qualification-based tournament composed of the 50 highest ranked teams of two in the nation. It is very difficult to qualify for. Rice qualified 3 teams for the first time in a decade. The NPTE features two judges per preliminary round and double-elimination in the elimination rounds.

Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: Elimination round 2 (top 24)
Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: Elimination round 2 (top 24)

Final ranking for year (out of 738):
Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: 26th
Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: 32nd

Also qualified: Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen, who missed advancing to elimination rounds by 1 ballot.

Rice won 8.5 debates overall, winning 17 prelim ballots (2 judges per debate).

National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship, March 23-26 at Colorado College. 4 teams of two represented Rice at the largest college national debate tournament in the nation composed of 143 teams from 42 schools.

Sweepstakes: 4th Place
Season Sweepstakes: 9th place (out of 170)
Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: Quarterfinalists, Debate
Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: Octafinalists, Debate
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen: Doubleoctafinalists, Debate
Vera Ranneft: 18th Overall Debate Speaker (out of 286!)
Jason Barton: 19th Overall Debate Speaker (out of 286!)
Rice won 22 separate debates.

Additionally, David Worth served as Tournament Director for the national tournament for the second year. He will move to the Vice Presidency of the organization for 2017-2018

Corpus Christi February 25-26

Part 1
Extemporaneous Speaking:
Lanie Tubbs: 4th

Informative Speaking:
Allison McKibban: 2nd

Part 2
Informative Speaking:
Gennifer Geer: 2nd

Texas State Tournament February 18-19 at Texas State San Marcos
16 schools. 256 individual event entries.

Part 1
Extemporaneous Speaking:
Allison McKibban: 1st
Persuasive Speaking
Allison McKibban: 1st

Persuasive Speaking
Lanie Tubbs: 4th

Part 2
Extemporaneous Speaking
Gennifer Geer: 2nd
Isaiah Rodriguez: 5th

Communication Analysis:
Lanie Tubbs: 3rd

Persuasive Speaking
Tia Liu: 1st
Gennifer Geer: 5th

After Dinner Speaking:
Summar McGee: 2nd

University of Missouri February 11-12
Two students from Rice. 36 teams from 13 schools.

Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: Semifinalists, Debate
Matt Proffitt: 19th Overall Speaker
Rice won 7 separate debates

Texas Tech University January 27-29
Four students from Rice. Regional competition. 20 teams from 7 schools
Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: 2nd Place
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen: Elimination Round 2

Overall Speaker Awards
Michael Portal: 2nd
Vera Ranneft: 3rd
Sonia Torres: 9th
Franz Brotzen: 10th
Rice won 14 separate debates

Elite Competition in Peoria January 14-15
Six students from Rice competed at Bradley University. 1015 entries from
This tournament is regarded as a “pre-nationals” because of the very high level of competition. Statistically, succeeding at this tournament is more difficult than at nationals.

1015 entries from 42 schools

Matt Proffitt:
Semifinalist (top 12 out of 69), Extemporaneous Speaking.
Semifinalist (top 12 out of 99), Impromptu Speaking.

Rice wins in Utah

Thirteen students kicked off the spring semester in competition at the University of Utah, January 5-8. This multifaceted event featured two separate speech tournaments and two separate debate tournaments. Results are listed below.

Overall IE Sweeps, debate sweeps, overall

Part 1
Sweepstakes: 2nd


After Dinner Speaking
Isaiah Rodriguez: 1st
Summar McGee: 2nd

Extemporaneous Speaking:
Lanie Tubbs: 1st
Tia Liu: 2nd
Isaiah Rodriguez: 3rd
Gennifer Geer: 4th

Informative Speaking
Allison McKibban: 2nd
Gennifer Geer: 3rd

Communication Analysis
Isaiah Rodriguez: 1st
Lanie Tubbs: 3rd

Impromptu Speaking
Allison McKibban 1st
Lanie Tubbs: 2nd

Persuasive Speaking
Allison McKibban: 1st
Gennifer Geer: 2nd
Tia Liu: 4th

Vera Ranneft: 9th Overall Speaker
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen: Quarterfinalists, debate.
Rice won 11 debates total.

Part 2
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen: Doubleoctafinalists, debate.
Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: Doubleoctafinalists, debate.

Overall Speaker Awards:
Michael Portal: 18th
Matt Proffitt: 19th
Rice won 9 debates total.

Finishing the year:

Interstate Oratorical Association. April 21-22, 2017. University of Louisiana-Lafayette. The oldest oratorical contest in the United States has annually sponsored a contest in Persuasive Speaking for two winning contestants from each state since 1872.

Allison McKibban had a 2nd place finish at the 143rd Interstate Oratorical Association National Tournament (IOA). This is oldest national oratorical competition established in 1874 and attended by the top two persuasive speakers from each state.

The previous email also should have reported that McKibban was selected for the All-American Team at the National Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. In order to be named to this team, individuals are selected based on three criteria: (1) scholastic achievement, (2) AFA-NIET forensic participation, and (3) community service. Selection for this is an honor awarded to the very few competitors who have served as models for forensics as well as the community beyond competition.

Fall 2016

UT-Austin and Texas State San Marcos: “Hill Country Swing.” 9/17-18

Rice was well-represented at this traditional season opener for speech. Senior Allison McKibban single-handedly defeated other squads of multiple competitors, setting the tone for a successful Rice Season.

14 schools
531 individual event entries

Overall Swing Sweeps: 3rd school overall

Allison McKibban: 2nd Individual Swing Sweepstakes

Part 1
Sweepstakes: 3rd

Allison McKibban:
1st Communication Analysis
2ndExtemporaneous Speaking
1st Impromptu Speaking
2nd Sweepstakes Individual

Part 2
Allison McKibban:
2nd Communication Analysis
2nd Extemporaneous Speaking
1st Impromptu Speaking
3rd Sweepstakes Individual

Rice University: Rice University Classic 9/23-25
Overall Swing Sweepstakes: 2nd

Rice hosted 16 schools fielding 452 individual event entries and 30 debate entries

Rice alumni judged and helped out, as Rice students did double duty, both hosting and competing.

Part 1

Sweepstakes: 4th
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen-Smith tied for first with Michael Portal and Sonia Torres, closing out finals in debate!
Allison McKibban and Natalie Zur: Quarterfinals in debate
Jason Barton and Ausitn Tang: Octo-finals in debate

Debate Speaker Awards
Vera Ranneft 1st
Allison McKibban 5th
Rice won 23 separate debates.

Part 2
Sweepstakes: 2nd

Allison McKibban
4th Extemporaneous Speaking
5th Communication Analysis
3rd Impromptu Speaking

Matt Proffitt
6th Extemporaneous Speaking
2nd Impromptu Speaking

Isaiah Rodriguez
5th After Dinner Speaking/Speech to Entertain

George Mason University Tournament 10/1-2
The nation’s top teams met in this early season speech tournament in Fairfax, VA. 13 schools, 160 entries.

Overall Swing Sweepstakes: 3rd

Part 1
Sweepstakes: 4th

Allison McKibban:
3rd Impromptu Speaking
1st Extemporaneous Speaking
2nd Communication Analysis
3rd Individual Sweepstakes

Part 2
Sweepstakes: 3rd

Allison McKibban
1st Individual Sweepstakes
2nd Communication Analysis
3rd Extemporaneous Speaking
3rd Impromptu Speaking
4th Persuasive Speaking

Matt Proffitt
1st Impromptu Speaking
4th Extemporaneous Speaking

Tia Liu
6th Persuasive Speaking

Lewis & Clark College
56 teams from 21 schools

Three teams represented Rice at this tournament of some of the best debaters in the nation.

Sonia Torres and Natalie Zur: 2nd Place Junior Varsity Debate
Sonia Torres: 9th Overall Debate speaker (JV)
Rice won 13 separate debates.

Bayou Swing—Houston, TX, October 21-23. This regional set of two tournaments featured 17 universities and colleges with 460 speech entries and 44 debate entries.

Team Award: 4th Overall Sweepstakes for combined tournaments

First Tournament
Matt Proffitt and Allison McKibban—Tournament Champions, undefeated (6-0) in the tournament.
Allison McKibban; 1st Impromptu Speaking, 1st Persuasive Speaking, Top Overall Debate Speaker.
Matt Proffitt: 1st in Extemporaneous Speaking, 5th Persuasive Speaking 1st in Impromptu Speaking, 2nd Overall Debate Speaker.
Tia Liu: 5th in Persuasive Speaking

Second Tournament
Matt Proffitt: 2nd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 4th Persuasive Speaking
Allison McKibban: 2nd in Persuasive Speaking
Gennifer Geer: Semifinalist in Informative Speaking

Colorado College--October 28-30. This regional tournament featured 16 universities and colleges, with 49 debate entries and 172 speech entries.
Rice won 10 debates overall

Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: Quarterfinalists in debate

Overall Sweepstakes: 2nd
Speech Sweepstakes: 1st

Matt Proffitt: 1st in Impromptu Speaking, 1st in Informative Speaking, 1st in Persuasive Speaking, 10th Overall Debate Speaker
Allison McKibban: 1st in Communication Analysis, 3rd in Impromptu Speaking, 2nd in Informative Speaking
Gennifer Geer: 1st in Extemporaneous Speaking
Summar McGee: 2nd In After Dinner Speaking, 3rd in Persuasive Speaking
Tia Liu: 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 5th in Persuasive Speaking
Michael Portal: 8th Overall Debate Speaker

University of the Pacific—November 4-6. This tournament featured 344 individual event entries and 84 debate entries from 20 Universities and colleges separated into two open tournaments and one invitation-only round robin.

Round Robin

The first day featured 8 of the very best teams in the nation, selected by competitive application. Rice was awarded 2 slots, which is very unusual and quite an honor. The team of Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen-Smith won the round robin with 6 wins, defeating a former national champion, bringing the championship trophy for this event back to Rice for the first time since 2010. Additionally, Vera Ranneft was selected as the top speaker for the event.

The team of Michael Portal and Sonia Torres also qualified and represented Rice very well, losing some very close debates.

First Tournament
Speech Sweepstakes: 2nd overall

Matthew Proffitt: 1st in Impromptu Speaking, 2nd in Informative Speaking, 2nd Persuasive Speaking
Isaiah Rodriguez: 1st in After Dinner Speaking, 4th in Extemporaneous Speaking
Tia Liu: 1st in Persuasive Speaking, 2nd in Extemporaneous Speaking
Summar McGee; 3rd in Persuasive Speaking

Second tournament
Speech Sweeps: 2nd

Debate Results:
Varsity Debate: Michael Portal and Sonia Torres: 2nd Place
Matt Proffitt and Jason Barton: Semifinalists
Vera Ranneft and Franz Brotzen-Smith: Quarterfinalists

JV Debate:
Natalie Zur and hybrid partner from Pacific: 2nd Place

Debate Speaker Awards:
Matt Proffitt: 1st
Vera Ranneft: 3rd
Sonia Torres: 5th
Michael Portal: 7th
Rice won 25 debates overall

Speech results:
Matt Proffitt: 1st in Informative
Tia Liu: 1st in Persuasive Speaking
7th in Extemporaneous Speaking
Summar McGee: 2nd in Persuasive Speaking, 3rd After Dinner Speaking
Isaiah Rodriguez: 2nd in After Dinner Speaking, 4th Communication Analysis

This concludes competition for the team for the Fall semester. The tem will start Spring 2017 at the University of Utah in January.

Shannon LaBove, who was the subject of a feature about her coaching career in the December issue Houstonia magazine! Available at: http://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/11/21/rice-university-debate-team-forensics-shannon-labove#.WDRk2I2xdPA.sms

Debating Elite Competitors in Dallas

Two debaters represented Rice at the Old Parkland Debates in Dallas, TX this past weekend, January 29-31. This event was by invitation and pitted six elite teams from the U.S. and U.K. against each other. Rice competed against Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Yale University, and Trinity University.

Rice narrowly missed the final round, coming up only one ballot short. In fact, Rice defeated both championship round teams (Oxford and Cambridge) in preliminary debates but missed out on the ballot count required to make the final. Rice finished a very close third for the event.

The event featured a round-robin style schedule, with each team debating in front of three judges. The judges for this contest included local and national figures, including U.S. Congresspeople, business leaders, Federal judges, and the mayor of Dallas.

Rice was represented in this prestigious event by Michael Portal (McMurtry ’17) and Vera Ranneft (Duncan ’17). Portal and Ranneft are currently ranked in the top 10% of debaters in the United States.

Impressively, Ranneft was ranked the 2nd place overall speaker for the tournament, second only to one of the debaters from Oxford.

Rice defeated Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard.

Read more >> Rice speech and debate team finishes season in the top 5