GEORGE R. BROWN FORENSICS SOCIETY

2021-22 Season

Rice Speech and Debate Brings home 91 Awards, Including National Championships in Spring 2022!

In Spring 2022 Rice’s speech and debate competitors overcame Zoom-fatigue, honed their rhetorical, performance, and advocacy skills, and refused to let virtual competition silence their voices. Spring had originally promised a return to travel tournaments, but Omicron had other plans. Competition continued to be largely virtual, with only a handful of in-person competitions, testing students’ resolve and ability to switch between rhetorical situations. Rice’s competitors passed that test with excellence!

Results for Spring 2022 are reported below.

Mile High Swing at University of Texas Tyler (virtual) January 6-9

This is a two-tournament event that kicks off the spring semester in NPDA/NPTE debate.

First Tournament:

Jacob Tate and Max Renteria: Quarterfinalists, Varsity Debate
Jacob Tate: 9th Place Overall Debate Speaker

Second Tournament:

Jacob Tate and Max Renteria: Semifinalists, Varsity Debate
Jacob Tate: 9th Place Overall Debate Speaker

Debates won: 13

Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Spring Tournament (virtual), February 4-5

Kevin Barry: 2nd Place After Dinner Speaking
Tiffany Sloan: 4th Place Prose Interpretation

Mehek Jain: 5th Place Persuasive Speaking

Gaske Memorial Tournament, San Diego State University (virtual), February 4-5

Kia Witt and Manna Trevino: Octoafinalists, Varsity Debate
Jacob Tate: 1st Place Overall Debate Speaker

Max Renteria: 6th Place Overall Debate Speaker

Debates won: 5

Bobcat Classic, Texas State University (virtual), February 6

Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Place Programmed Oral Interpretation; 3rd Place Prose Interpretation
Mehek Jain: 2nd Place Persuasive Speaking

Kevin Barry: 4th Place After Dinner Speaking

National Warmup, McKendree University (virtual), February 12-13

Sweepstakes: 1st Place

Jacob Tate and Max Renteria: 1st Place Varsity Debate
Jacob Tate: 2nd Place Overall Debate Speaker

Max Renteria: 3rd Place Overall Debate Speaker

Debates won: 6

97th Battle of Flowers Oratorical Contest, February 25, San Antonio (virtual), TX

This is the oldest college and university-level speaking contest in Texas.

Jazmine Castillo: 4th Place Historical Speaking

National Round Robin, William Jewell College, February 26-27

Jacob Tate: 2nd Place Overall Debate Speaker
Jacob Tate and Max Renteria: 5th place Varsity Debate

Debates won: 8

National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, (virtual), March 4-6

Kia Witt and Alina Zhu: 7th Place Varsity Debate
Jacob Tate and Max Renteria: 8th Place Varsity Debate

Max Renteria: 9th Place Overall Debate Speaker
Jacob Tate: 10th Place Overall Debate Speaker

Debates won: 11

American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament District III Qualifier, March 5 (virtual)

Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Alonso Medina:1st Place Communication Analysis; 2nd Place Informative Speaking
Kevin Barry: 1st Place After Dinner Speaking

Britney Hsu: 2nd Place After Dinner Speaking
Maya Adhikari: 2nd Place Communication Analysis
Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Place Prose Interpretation
Jazmine Castillo: 3rd Place Dramatic Interpretation
Taylor Gilliam: 4th Place Informative Speaking

Doane University Asynchronous Tournament (virtual)

Maya Adhikari: 2nd Place Persuasive Speaking
Kevin Barry: 5th Place Persuasive Speaking

Jazmine Castillo: Finalist, Dramatic Interpretation

Southern and Northern Atlantic Forensics Union Tournament (virtual), February 27

Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Mehek Jain: 1stPlace Impromptu Speaking; 3rdPlace Extemporaneous Speaking; 3rd Place Persuasive Speaking
Taylor Gilliam: 1st Place Poetry Interpretation; 4th
Place Informative Speaking

Tiffany Sloan: 1st Place Programmed Oral Interpretation; 3rd Place Poetry Interpretation; 4thPlace Prose Interpretation
Britney Hsu: 2nd Place Programmed Oral Interpretation; 3rd Place After Dinner Speaking
Jazmine Castillo: 2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation; 6th Place Prose Interpretation
Taylor Gilliam and Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Place Duo Interpretation
Kevin Barry: 4th Place After Dinner Speaking
Maya Adhikari: 5th Place Persuasive Speaking

Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament, University of Central Florida, March 9-12

69 colleges and universities, approximately 1600 individual event entries

This event is over a century old and is one of the largest events in the nation. It features a unique rating system for awards, so awards are listed by event below rather than by student.

Overall Sweepstakes: 12th Place
Speech Sweepstakes: 9th Place

Persuasive Speaking

Mehek Jain 1st Place National Champion (Top Superior)
Maya Adhikari: Excellent

Informative Speaking

Taylor Gilliam: 3rd overall (Top Superior)
Alonso Medina: Excellent

Kevin Barry: Excellent and Informative Showcase
Mehek Jain: Excellent

Extemporaneous Commentary

Mehek Jain: 2nd Overall (Top Superior)

Impromptu Speaking

Pranav Nagajothi: 5th Place; Excellent
Mehek Jain: Excellent

Prose Interpretation

Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Overall (Top Superior)

Extemporaneous Speaking

Mehek Jain: 2nd Place; Excellent

Programmed Oral Interpretation

Tiffany Sloan: Excellent

After Dinner Speaking

Mehek Jain: Excellent

Dramatic Interpretation

Tiffany Sloan: Excellent

American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, April 1-4 (travel)

47 colleges and universities, approximately 1000 individual event entries.

Sweepstakes: 12th Place

Tiffany Sloan: Quarterfinalist Dramatic Interpretation
Taylor and Tiffany: Semifinalists Duo Interpretation

Taylor Gilliam: Quarterfinalist Informative Speaking; Quarterfinalist Programmed Oral Interpretation; Quarterfinalist Poetry Interpretation
Mehek Jain: Quarterfinalist Ext; Quarterfinalist Persuasive Speaking

NFA Forensics Association National Championship Tournament, Illinois State University, April 14-18 (travel)

50 colleges and universities, approximately 950 individual event entries

Tiffany Sloan: Quarterfinalist Poetry Interpretation; Quarterfinalist Programmed Oral Interpretation; Octafinalist Prose Interpretation; Octafinalist Dramatic Interpretation

National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship Tournament (virtual), March 25-27 (reported in a previous press release),

Rice Debate Brings Home Second National Championship in Two Years!

Students from Rice Speech and Debate competed this past weekend, March 25-27 in the National Parliamentary Debate Association 2022 National Championship tournament. After a difficult year of virtual competition, the team once again came out on top, winning its second national championship in as many years.

Senior Jacob Tate and Sophomore Maximus  Renteria reached the final round and won by a 6-3 vote, giving them 1st Place in the tournament and making them the NPDA 2022 National Champions, in Varsity Debate!

Additionally, Jacob Tate was awarded 4th Place Overall Debate Speaker and was selected for the 2022 NPDA All-American Team.  This award recognizes academic excellence, competitive success, and community service for outstanding seniors in the debate community

Maximus Renteria was named the 10th Place Overall Debate Speaker.

Seniors Kia Witt and Alina Zhu also capped off a distinguished college debate career as Octafinalists in Varsity Debate, winning five preliminary debates and their double-octafinal debate as well. Known for their out-of-the-box thinking and uniquely insightful arguments, these seniors overcame tremendous challenges to debate half of their college careers virtually during the pandemic and represented Rice with incomparable excellence.

Team Awards:

Season Open (Varsity) Division: 4th Place
Overall Season Sweepstakes: 5th Place

Tournament Sweepstakes: 6th Place

Debates won: 15

This national championship continues an elite record for Rice’s debaters. Rice won the sweepstakes (squad) national championship last year, and has placed debate teams in a national championship final round in 3 of the last 4 years.

Saying Goodbye to Seniors

The team has completed its 2021-2022 season and will say goodbye to six seniors. This class competed half of their collegiate career in a virtual environment. They adapted and thrived in an atmosphere of uncertainty, embodying the spirit of Rice Fight Never Dies. They will be missed.

Rice Speech and Debate Seniors 2022:

Alonso Medina
Krithika Shamanna

Tiffany Sloan
Jacob Tate
Kia Witt
Alina Zhu

The team will kick off the 2022-23 season in the fall and hopes to return fully to in-person competition!

The team is housed in the School of Humanities and coached by Humanities faculty David Worth and Shannon LaBove.


Rice Debaters Bring Home Second National Championship in the National Parliamentary Debate Association 2022 National Championship

Students from Rice Speech and Debate competed this past weekend, March 25-27 in the National Parliamentary Debate Association 2022 National Championship tournament. After a difficult year of virtual competition, the team once again came out on top, winning its second national championship in as many years.

Senior Jacob Tate and Sophomore Maximus Renteria reached the final round and won by a 6-3 vote, giving them 1st Place in the tournament and making them the NPDA 2022 National Champions in Varsity Debate!

Additionally, Jacob Tate was awarded 4th Place Overall Debate Speaker and was selected for the 2022 NPDA All-American Team.  The All-American award recognizes academic excellence, competitive success, and community service for outstanding seniors in the debate community.

Seniors Kia Witt and Alina Zhu also capped off a distinguished college debate career as Octafinalists in Varsity Debate, winning five preliminary debates and their double-octafinal debate as well. Known for their out-of-the-box thinking and uniquely insightful arguments, these seniors overcame tremendous challenges to debate half of their college careers virtually during the pandemic and represented Rice with incomparable excellence.

The team also brought home team awards listed below.

  • Season Open (Varsity) Division: 4th Place
  • Overall Season Sweepstakes: 5th Place
  • Tournament Sweepstakes: 6th Place

This continues an elite record for Rice’s debaters. Rice won the sweepstakes (squad) national championship last year, and has placed debate teams in a national championship final round in 3 of the last 4 years.


Rice Speech and Debate brings home 60 awards since October 15!

Rice Speech and Debate students met the challenge of a return to in-person instruction and somewhat normal undergraduate life while demonstrating excellence as academic competitors representing Rice. They worked tremendously hard this semester to improve their rhetorical abilities and brought home 59 awards since our last update in October. This brings the total for the Fall semester to 86!

Speech competitors wrapped up the semester with a dominant performance at the team’s first in-person tournament since March 2020. The students traveled to New York and earned a second-place overall sweepstakes finish in an amazing showing.

Rice debaters finish the semester ranked very highly. The team of Jacob Tate and Max Renteria are currently ranked second in the nation and the team of Kia Witt and Alina Zhu are ranked twelfth! These rankings are out of 103 ranked teams by the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

Results since October 15 are listed below.

Bayou City Swing, October 23-24, Virtual

First Tournament:
102 Individual event entries from 14 schools

Mehek Jain:
1st Place After Dinner Speaking
2nd Place Impromptu Speaking

4th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Taylor Gilliam
2nd Place Poetry Interpretation

Pranav Nagajothi:
3rd Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Second Tournament:
113 Individual event entries from 12 schools

Team Sweepstakes: 3rd Place

Mehek Jain:
1st Place After Dinner Speaking

2nd Place Impromptu Speaking
3rd Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Tiffany Sloan:
4th Place Dramatic Interpretation

5th Place Poetry Interpretation

Golden Gate Invitational, University of California—Berkeley, Virtual

October 30-31
17 teams from 7 schools

Team Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Max Renteria and Jacob Tate: Semifinalists, Parliamentary Debate

Kia Witt and Alina Zhu: Quarterfinalists, Parliamentary Debate

Speaker Awards:
Kia Witt: 7th Place Overall Speaker
Jacob Tate: 9th Place Overall Speaker

Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Fall Championship, November 6-7, Virtual

First Tournament
98 Individual event entries from 14 schools

Tiffany Sloan:
1st Place Poetry Interpretation

4th Place Dramatic Interpretation

Mehek Jain:
2nd  Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Pranav Nagajothi:
4th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Bearcat Classic, McKendree University, November 13-14, Virtual

18 teams from 7 schools
Team Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Jacob Tate and Max Renteria:
1st Place Varsity Parliamentary Debate

Chloe Singer and Manna Trevino:
2nd Place Junior Varsity Parliamentary Debate

Speaker Awards:
Jacob Tate:
1st Place Top Speaker

Max Renteria:
3rd Overall Debate Speaker

District III Fall Tournament, November 13, Virtual

120 individual event entries from 11 schools

Overall Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Tiffany Sloan:
1st Place Dramatic Interpretation

Taylor Gilliam:
2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation

Pranav Nagajothi:
2nd Place Extemporaneous Speaking

4th Place Impromptu Speaking

Kevin Barry:
2nd Place Informative Speaking

Britney Hsu:
2nd Place Program Oral Interpretation

Maya Adhikari
5th Place Informative Speaking

Off-Broadway Swing, Hofstra University, December 4-5, In-person

This was the team’s first in-person tournament since March of 2020!

First Tournament:
204 Individual event entries from 21 schools

Mehek Jain:
1st Place After Dinner Speaking

3rd Place Individual Sweepstakes
3rd Place Extemporaneous Speaking
3rd Place Informative Speaking

Tiffany Sloan:
1st Place Dramatic Interpretation

3rd Place Duo Interpretation (with Taylor Gilliam)
4th Place Individual Sweepstakes

Taylor Gilliam:
2nd Place Individual Sweepstakes

2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation
2nd Place Extemporaneous Speaking
2nd Place Poetry Interpretation
3rd Place Duo Interpretation (with Tiffany Sloan)

Kevin Barry:
6th Place After Dinner Speaking

Second Tournament:

204 Individual event entries from 21 schools

Team Sweepstakes: 2nd Place

Tiffany Sloan:
1st Place Dramatic Interpretation

2nd Place Duo Interpretation (with Taylor Gilliam)
4th Place Poetry Interpretation
5th Place Individual Sweepstakes

Taylor Gilliam:
1st Program Oral Interpretation

2nd Place Individual Sweepstakes
2nd Place Duo Interpretation (with Tiffany Sloan)
3rd Place Dramatic Interpretation
3rd Place Poetry Interpretation

Mehek Jain:
1st Place Informative Speaking

3rd Place After Dinner Speaking

Maya Adhikari:
1st Place Persuasive Speaking

Kevin Barry:
2nd Place Informative Speaking

This concludes competition for the semester. The team will next compete in January.

Rice Speech and Debate is coached by Humanities faculty members David Worth and Shannon LaBove.


Rice Speech and Debate Kicks Off Season with 26 Awards

Rice Speech and Debate has been hard at work representing Rice this fall! While intercollegiate competition is still virtual, the team has worked hard to connect with audiences and accomplish their rhetorical goals. Continuing the momentum of last year’s sweepstakes national championship in debate and Pi Kappa Delta national championship in Programmed Oral Interpretation, the team is once again poised to bring home national accolades.

As of October 15, the team has won 26 awards. Results are listed below.

Hill Country Swing Part 1: Texas State University Portion

127 individual event entries from 9 colleges and universities

Mehek Jain: 6th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Hill Country Swing Part 2: University of Texas Portion

89 individual event entries from 9 colleges and universities

Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation; 5th Place Prose Interpretation

Taylor Gilliam and Tiffany Sloan: 2nd Place Dramatic Duo Interpretation

Mehek Jain: 3rd Place Extemporaneous Speaking; 5th Place Informative Speaking

Taylor Gilliam: 3rd Place Dramatic Interpretation

Virginia is For Lovers Swing (George Mason University and James Madison University) 10/2-3/21

Part 1:

87 individual event entries from 14 schools

5th Place Overall Sweepstakes

Taylor Gilliam and Tiffany Sloan: 1st Place Dramatic Duo Interpretation

Mehek Jain: 5th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Kevin Barry 4th Place Informative Speaking

Maya Adhikari: 6th Place Persuasive Speaking

Taylor Gilliam: 1st Place Poetry Interpretation

Part 2:

176 individual event entries from 13 schools

Pranav Nagajothi: 6th Place Extemporaneous Speaking

Taylor Gilliam: 5th Place Poetry Interpretation

Rice University Classic 9/25-26/21

24 teams from 12 colleges and universities in 9 states

Max Renteria and Jacob Tate: 2nd Place, Parliamentary Debate

Kia Witt and Lina Zhu: Octafinals, Parliamentary Debate

Speaker Awards:

Jacob Tate: 6th Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Kia Witt: 10th Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Lewis & Clark College 10/9-10/21

17 teams from 10 colleges and universities in Parliamentary Debate

Chloe Singer and Manna Treviño: Partial Octafinals, Parliamentary Debate

Kia Witt and Lina Zhu: Quarterfinals, Parliamentary Debate

Max Renteria and Jacob Tate: 2nd Place, Parliamentary Debate

Speaker Awards:

Jacob Tate: 1st Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Alina Zhu: 3rd Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Kia Witt: 4th Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

Max Renteria: 8th Overall Parliamentary Debate Speaker

The team will next compete at the local Bayou City Swing followed by University of California, Berkeley.

Rice Speech and Debate is coached by Humanities faculty members David Worth and Shannon LaBove.

To learn more about Rice Speech and Debate visit https://humanities.rice.edu/speech-and-debate .