St. A’s debate team hosts 29th annual Jack Lynch tourney with 17 schools


Credit/Amani Clemons

James Maloney, Neil Craffey, and Nathaniel Crane recently participated in virtual debate

David Trumble, Debate Coach

On Saturday, November 6, the debate team hosted the 29th annual Jack Lynch Speech and Debate Tournament. 150 people from 17 colleges and universities attended the online tournament. Professor Lynch, a History Professor at the College, coached the debate team for 46 years, starting in 1948, the first year of the team. The team is in its 74th year.

The list of schools attending was Hillsdale College (Michigan), University of Indianapolis (Indiana),

Murray State University (Kentucky), West Chester University (Pennsylvania), Penn State University (Pennsylvania), Ithaca College (New York), Dutchess Community College (New York), Bowling Green State University (Ohio), Belmont Abbey College (North Carolina), Liberty University (Virginia), Valdosta State University (Georgia), Tennessee Tech University (Tennessee), Colorado Christian University (Colorado), Simpson College (Iowa), Georgia Tech (Georgia) and Missouri Valley College (Missouri).

The debate team is especially grateful to its alumni who assisted the team in hosting this event by providing judges for the rounds. St. Anselm College alumni from the 1970s through the 2020s helped. The team extends its thanks to David Canarie, Pam Koonz Canarie, Lisa Pearson, Rachel Wilcox Casper, Lily-Gre Hitchen, Erica Davis, Maggie McSherry, and Jacquelyn Spear.

Our team had four students competing in IPDA Debate: Neil Craffey (’22), Rose Callahan (’22), Nathanial Crane (’24) and Sean Kelleher (’24). Kelleher eached the final round of the Novice Division. In total, the cumulative efforts of the four debaters earned the college a fourth-place finish in overall Debate Sweepstakes tied with Hillsdale College. Third place went to Colorado Christian University, second place to Murray State University and first place to West Chester University.

The team has attended two virtual tournaments in Ohio this semester and held two public debates on campus. One debate was in conjunction with the NHIOP in October on the 2nd Amendment, by Alyssa Stankevitz (’23), Katie Monahan (’23) Nathanial Crane (’24) and Alexander Burgess (’23). A second debate is being held in conjunction with the Physics Society, date to be determined, on whether humans should actively reach out to extraterrestrial life, by James Maloney (’23), Sean Kelleher (’24), Rose Callahan (’22) and Neil Craffey (’22). Ailish Husband (’22), Trie Young (’23), Andras Bencze (’25) and Tony Walters (’25), who are also active members of the team. 

The team is looking forward to a full semester of competition in the Spring and is looking forward to the return of traveling to in-person tournaments if not this Spring, then next Fall. The team will begin the Spring semester with a public debate as part of the MLK Jr. Program of Events on a topic of civil rights or civil liberties. 

The team is also looking forward in the Spring semester to working with the Access Academy and the Melia Center to offer a course in debate to local high school students as part of the after-school education programs offered at the College.

Students who are interested in joining are welcome to come to a team meeting or contact the coach, David Trumble, at [email protected]