UM Students Win Debate Competition, Advance to National Stage

March 12, 2014

MISSOULA – University of Montana debate students fared well at the Northwest Parli Championship tournament, held March 8-9 at the University of Washington-Bothell. The tournament is designed for students in their first or second year of college debate.

Teammates Shelby Ryann Dolezal and Matt Powell won the first- and second-year open division after beating Clark College in the final round. The two debated why the U.S. government should sanction foreign aid to the nation of Uganda. Dolezal was the fifth speaker at the tournament, a recognition acknowledging her individual performance during her own speeches.

For teammates Ben Anglen and Tavia Kohles, the competition marked their inaugural participation in a tournament. They participated in the novice division, and Anglen was named the second speaker. According to UM Debate Director David Airne, that recognition was a significant achievement for Anglen, as it was the first time he had ever competed.

After winning their division, Dolezal and Powell will move onto the National Parliamentary Debate Association’s national tournament, which will be held March 20-23 at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz.

They will compete along with UM senior Karla Nettleton, who is classified as an open debater and has been competing all academic year. She lost her UM teammate to illness so she will be paired with a student from the University of Washington, who also lost his teammate for medical reasons.

The NPDA national tournament is the largest tournament of the year with more than 50 schools competing for the national championship. 

Additional information on the debate program can be found on its Facebook page or on the Department of Communication Studies Web page






Contact: David Airne, debate director, UM Department of Communication Studies, 406-243-4551,