November 21, 2017  

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Southern Miss Speech and Debate Team Hosting British National Team Nov. 10

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The University of Southern Mississippi Speech and Debate team had a successful performance at a recent tournament in Shreveport, La. and looks forward to its next event. The team will host the British National Debate Team Friday, Nov. 10 in the International Center, room 101 at 3:45 p.m. on the Hattiesburg campus. The free event is open to the public, and will feature a debate on artificial intelligence.

The Southern Miss Speech and Debate team traveled to Louisiana State University-Shreveport in October to compete in the 43rd Annual Red River Swing. The program consisted of two individual event tournaments, a team and an individual debate tournament.

Jonathan Bridenbaker, team president and a Southern Miss communication studies senior from Gulfport, Miss., competed in both individual event tournaments as well as the individual debate. In the first individual event tournament, Bridenbaker placed in all five of the events he competed in, taking third place in impromptu speaking, fourth place in extemporaneous speaking, fifth place in prose interpretation, sixth place in persuasive speaking and sixth place in the program of oral interpretation. Bridenbaker’s five top six finishes placed Southern Miss as the fifth overall school in individual events for the first individual event tournament.

Bridenbaker placed second in extemporaneous speaking, the second individual event tournament. He matched his prose interpretation finish from the first day with another fifth-place award. This accomplishment led to a second fifth-place overall individual event award for Southern Miss. Bridenbaker brought home a fourth-place Pilot award, given only to those who compete in both individual events and the debate, which included a limited number of competitors.

Bridenbaker was not the only student who had success at the Red River Swing. Richard Bradley, an international student from Birmingham, Great Britain, had a successful weekend competing in the junior varsity division of the individual debate tournament. He was the 16th seed out of 34 competitors, which advanced him to elimination rounds where his first round was against the first seed from William Carey University. Bradley won the first elimination round. In the quarterfinals and semifinals rounds, he bested competitors from the University of Central Arkansas, ultimately bringing him to a final round against Mississippi State University, where Bradley defeated the in-state rival.

Assistant Director of Forensics and Ph.D. communication studies student, Seth Fendley, competed in the professional division of the tournament, where he received a fifth-place speaker award and was a quarterfinalist.

“We took four competitors to a tournament where the average team size was 10 to 15. To be able to compete at the level we did, including bringing home multiple sweepstakes awards and a first place finish, was phenomenal,” said Fendley, a Hot Springs, Ark. native.

For more information about the Southern Miss Department of Communication Studies, visit www.usm.edu/communication-studies.