BELTON, Texas – In stifling central Texas heat, and amid raging thunderstorms and tornado warnings, hundreds of well-dressed, well-coifed, homeschooled teenagers from 34 states competed in the national championships in debate and speech with top winners coming from as far as California and Virginia.

It was the culmination of a year of local and regional tournaments around the country for the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association – a growing organization producing articulate young citizens and highly sought-after recruits for some of the nation’s top colleges.

The NCFCA debate league was founded in 1995 by Christy Shipe and her father, Michael P. Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, and chancellor of Patrick Henry College. Shipe saw a need for a forum in which homeschoolers could participate in competitive forensics and collaborated with her father for a solution.

The solution took the form of a league specifically designed for homeschooled students, and was originally called the “HSLDA Debate League.” The league was fathered by Farris’ organization at its inception, but when it began to take on its own identity due to exponential growth, Shipe and Farris knew it was time for the organization to mature. It was separated from HSLDA and renamed the “National Christian Forensics and Communications Association” in 2001.

In the last five years, according to NCFCA President Michael Larimer, the number of participating families has tripled. The organization now retains over 2,000 affiliate families. As each family often contains multiple participants, the real number of competitors is closer to 5,000, with clubs and debaters located in 45 states across 10 regions.

Obviously, preparation for NCFCA’s tournament season, which typically begins in January, is extensive. Many competitors begin researching debate topics and preparing speeches immediately upon the close of nationals, setting aside old cases for new.

Marla Blum is 2007 NCFCA Lincoln-Douglas debate winner

The topic debated by all competitors in team policy debate this year was NATO reform. In the Lincoln-Douglas, one-on-one debate category, the issue was whether democracy is overvalued.

Topics for next year were announced here this week: In team policy debate, participants chose immigration reform. Lincoln-Douglas debaters will argue about isolationism.

While the NCFCA debate league is young, the success of its alumni speaks volumes about its positive repercussions. Many alumni have been recruited by top-tier universities and are participating in debate and moot court at the collegiate level. Former debater Lila Rose, a UCLA student who exposed a Planned Parenthood cover-up, was recently featured on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Chicago debater Jonathan Wolfson has gone on to a position as research assistant for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, where he works with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Following is a list of participants who “broke” in the first round of the national championships along with their numeric finish:

Lincoln-Douglas debate

14th Anna Stewart
13th Andrew Robyler
12th Tyler McBay
11th Holly Trujillo
10th Audrey Hebson
9th Joanna Griffith
8th Laralyn Murphy
7th Benjamin Butler
6th Anthony Moreno
5th Mackenzi Siebert
4th Alanna Aughenbaugh
3rd Joseph Laughon
2nd Jason Hughey
1st Marla Blum

Team Policy Debate

34th Grace Allen/Larissa Jaskulsky
33rd David Berghan/Arlen Olson
32nd Caroline Byrd/Lawson Kuehnert
31st Paul Schlaudraff/Cody Stevens
30th Zachary Crockett/Stephen Colbert
29th Brianna Landon/Aaron Wood
28th Mary Beth Cole/Courtney Ring
27th Marcus Armstrong/Rachel Armstrong
26th Matthew Hendrickson/David Scripka
25th Jacob Feldman/Kate Feldman
24th Connor Landgraf/Jorgen Rehn
23rd Katie Deibler/Noah Oberlander
22nd Zachary Enos/Nathan Favero
21st Ryan Gilles/Jason Lam
20th Jordan Broaddus/Kristin Broaddus
19th Ellen Rucker/Sarah Yeager
18th Jonathan Dinsmore/Michelle Wright
17th Jared Canfield/Peter Vilim
16th Alyssa Farah/Rebekah Kintzing
15th Alicia Chandler/Brandon Smith
14th Ann Marie Craig/Kaila Ray
13th Nathan Gencarella/Ian Reid
12th Josh Renfro/Joseph Strack
11th Jeremy DePangher/Krista Guardino
10th Jessica Schubert/Trevor Ward
9th Gregory Escobar/McNair Nichols
8th Asher Burke/Barak Wright
7th John Grant/Amanda Rossi
6th Timothy Edelblut/Paul Sanders
5th Alan Carrillo/Samantha Nasser
4th Isaac Evans/Andrew Fraser
3rd Isaac Lichlyter/Daniel Wilson
2nd Trevor Anderson/Katie Philpott
1st Sam Hoel / Allison McCarty

Individual Events

Marathoner (Participating in five individual events)

Abigail Baltensperger
ChanyFehr Buchanan
Jessie McLean
Melissa Ray
Jessie Sloan

IronMen (Five IEs plus debate)

Nathan Brown
Jared Canfield
Alan Carrillo
Christopher Hand
Logan Herche
Andy Hudson
Melissa Hudson
Brianna Landon
Joy Larimer
Courtney Joy Martin
Zach Robbins


24th Green, Andrew
23rd Zupancic, Heather
22nd Reavely, Taylor
21st Green, Emily
20th Carrillo, Alan
19th Herche, Logan
18th Wahlen, Hannah
17th Duffy, Katie
16th Murphy, Laralyn
15th Maisano, Toni
14th Wright, Barak
13th Axsom, Andrew
12th Philpott, Katie
11th McCroskey, David
10th Farah, Alyssa
9th Sanders, Paul
8th Griffith, Joanna
7th Bowman, Daniel
6th Martin, Courtney Joy
5th Day, Andrew
4th Sloan, Jesse
3rd Yeager, Sarah
2nd McMurray, Colleen
1st Mullaney, Grace

Dramatic Interp

16th Aschmutat, Jacob
15th Thomas, Christina
14th Heflin, Ben
13th Reynolds, Zack
12th Ricks, Michael Jr.
11th Dolan, Matthew
10th Herche, Logan
9th Robyler, Andrew
8th Enos, Zachary
7th Shorey, Kelsey
6th Lewis, Daniel
5th Yeates, Callan
4th Robbins, Zach
3rd Peterson, Joshua
2nd Sloan, Jesse
1st Canfield, Jared

Duo Interp

16th Cossette Davis – Anna Tullis
15th Jordan Broaddus – Kristen Broaddus
14th Fredrick Bottom – Kirby Gowen
13th Zach Reynolds – Stephanie Semora
12th Levanna Davis – Mary Tullis
11th Benjamin Adams – Emmalee Adams
10th Aaron Harms – Michal Ford
9th Jacob Feldman – Kate Feldman
8th Joshua Minchin – Michael Mullaney
7th Teddy Gehrig, III – Alexandria Nogy
6th Jenna Keefe – John-Phillip Rosenberger, Jr.
5th Sabrina Avedisian – Hannah Weekley
4th Kaete Followwill – Craig Weisman
3rd Jonathan Metcalfe – Timothy Metcalfe
2nd Colby Carlson – Taylor Carlson
1st Alan Carrillo – Adam Hardy

Expository speech

16th Penson, Madeline
15th Crockett, Zachary
14th Nogy, Alexandria Shay
13th Pelletier, Paul
12th Smith, Bronte
11th Hastings, Paul
10th Edelblut, Micah
9th Farrell, Risa
8th Burke, Jarah
7th Miller, Brianna
6th Webber, Micah
5th Penson, Elliot
4th Garavaglia, Alicia
3rd Clayton, Brady
2nd Rehn, Soren
1st Riley, Katie

Extemporaneous speech

16th Showerman, Kaitlin
15th Robbins, Zach
14th Wilson, Daniel
13th Swank, Levi
12th Hudson, Andy
11th Gowen, Kirby
10th Heflin, Ben
9th Brown, Nathan
8th Lichlyter, Isaac
7th Canfield, Jared
6th Kerr, Bethany
5th Little, Marcie
4th Mullaney, Grace
3rd Winther, Kelsey
2nd Hoel, Sam
1st Woodruff, Betsy


16th Sanchez, Courtney
15th Enos, Seth
14th Robyler, Andrew
13th Anderson, Robert
12th Carrillo, Michelle
11th Tullis, Anna
10th Hudson, Andy
9th Heggem, Stephen
8th Metcalfe, Jonathan
7th Robbins, Zach
6th Hand, Christopher
5th Canfield, Jared
4th Taylor, Caleb
3rd Hardy, Adam
2nd Harms, Aaron
1st Wright, Hunter


24th Lewanowicz, Kate
23rd Miller, Colin
22nd Blum, Marla Lynn
21st Reynolds, Caitlin
20th Silva, Joey
19th McMurray, Colleen
18th Brown, Nathan
17th Crockett, Zachary
16th Parker, David
15th Siebert, Mackenzi
14th Green, Emily
13th Herche, Logan
12th Wright, Jonathan
11th Griffith, Joanna
10th Taylor, Zack
9th Hudson, Melissa
8th Foster, Max
7th Sloan, Jesse
6th Carrillo, Alan
5th York, Russell Aaron
4th Enos, Zachary
3rd Cole, Mary Beth
2nd Rossi, Amanda
1st Woodruff, Betsy


24th Otieno, Lillian
23rd Hardy, Timothy
22nd Tullis, Anna
21st McWaters, Brandon
20th Hudson, Andy
19th Aboreden, Nassir
18th Townes, Nicolas
17th McLinden, Maggie
16th Carrillo, Michelle
15th Canfield, Grace
14th Sherman, Marshall
13th Canfield, Jared
12th Landon, Brianna
11th Carlin, Kate
10th Carlson, Colby
9th Peterson, Joshua
8th Rehn, Jorgen
7th Hyland, Daniel
6th Clayton, Brady
5th McLean, Jessie
4th Ray, Melissa
3rd Colbert, Micah
2nd Gervais, Sarah
1st Orsini, Christine

Original Oratory

16th Weiland, Chad
15th McLean, Jessie
14th Wahlen, Hannah
13th Wolf, Ariel
12th Farrell, Risa
11th Hudson, Melissa
10th Buchanan, ChanyFehr
9th Robyler, Andrew
8th Axsom, Andrew
7th Aboreden, Nassir
6th Moreno, Anthony
5th Landon, Brianna
4th Yeager, Sarah
3rd Forti, Kyle
2nd Carrillo, Alan
1st McCroskey, David


16th Kintzing, Rebekah
15th Wright, Michelle
14th Brummel, Joanna
13th Beilman, Daniel
12th McLean, Jessie
11th Zupancic, Heather
10th Moser, Chelsea
9th McCroskey, David
8th Crockett, Zachary
7th Weisman, Craig
6th Tullis, Mary
5th Baltensperger, Abigail
4th Forti, Kyle
3rd Oberlander, Noah
2nd Enos, Zachary
1st Hudson, Melissa


16th Ledon, Lizette
15th Edelblut, Micah
14th Slater, Amanda
13th Followwill, Jordan
12th Weiland, Catherine
11th Hardy, Timothy
10th Beach, Sara
9th Nelson, Kaitlin
8th Day, Andrew
7th Beach, John
6th Weisman, Craig
5th Ray, Melissa
4th Morgan, Christina
3rd Dolan, Matthew
2nd Wright, Jonathan
1st Brown, Nathan

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