Over the weekend of March 7th-11th the UCF Speech and Debate Team attended the 2024 Pi Kappa Delta Biennial Tournament and Convention. This is the largest, and longest standing comprehensive national championship in the nation.  

Your knights stood out in speech. With 9 entries receiving a rating of “Excellent” (Top 30%). This was in addition to 4 entries being rated as “Superior” (Top 10%). More than half of the UCF entries placed in the top 50% in the country. Among the Superiors was first-year student Hunter Fenn, who was recognized as co-national champion in student congress. Seniors Teresa Hudgens and Jordyn Collis were also selected to participate in the showcase round of Informative Speaking. The women were identified as two of the top speakers in the event and perform in a specialized forum before adjudicators and students who then participated in a question-and-answer period with each speaker.  

On the debate side of the tournament two knights reached elimination rounds. Ash Rahbari advanced to semifinals of the novice division of IPDA style debate, while Sakshi Shukla advanced to quarterfinals of junior varsity in the same event. Sakshi also advanced to the JV breakout final of Lincoln Douglas. UCF came to the tournament with five debate entries, and all ended the tournament with winning records for the second year in a row.  

Jordyn Collis and Teresa Hudgens received one additional honor at the awards banquet, being named to the 2024 All American Team. Each year Pi Kappa Delta identifies ten students that have gone above and beyond that of their peers. Students who excel in the areas of service, academics and speech/debate competition. 

Director of Forensics Jonathan Conway explains “UCF has never had an All American before. But Jordyn and Teresa are two of the most deserving we have had in my ten years here. Both are incredibly involved with their research and serve their communities. All this while being captains on an incredibly successful team.  I couldn’t be more honored to be their coach.” 

Alongside the individual awards, UCF brought home hardware as a team. Similar to individual ratings, teams can receive “excellent” and “superior” ratings based on percentile. UCF Speech and Debate received an excellent in speech, an excellent in debate, and an excellent in overall/combined sweepstakes. With the final placing being 10th in the country. 

Conway explains the significance of this achievement. “We had four seniors, and they were the first-year students that joined during the pandemic. They had every opportunity and reason to quit. Public speaking and debate on Zoom is not nearly as fun as in person. But they stuck with it, and four years later they earned this team a spot in the top ten. Something we have only done once before. These seniors are everything UCF Knights are supposed to be. Determined, resilient and passionate.”  

UCF Speech and Debate hopes to continue this path of excellence and retain its top ten ranking in 2025. Follow their journey on social media and cheer them on.  

Go Knights! Charge On!


By Jonathan Conway, Director of Forensics at NSCM.

Published to Nicholson News on April 4th, 2024.

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