AFC Wins National Championships in Speech and Debate Tournament

Mar 26, 2021

Members of the Alabama Forensic Council Team

The Alabama Forensic Council (AFC) won two national championships in speech and debate at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament last weekend. The team won both the Team National Championship for individual events in speech and the Overall Team National Championship which included elements of both speech and debate.

C&IS students Cassidy Duncan, Cortland Stone and Elizabeth Tagg won first place in the Informative Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation and Prose categories respectively. Stone and Tagg also received first place in the Duo Interpretation category.

Since this year’s tournament was held virtually, students were tasked with completing their events online. According to Dr. Benjamin Pyle, director of AFC, the students adapted to the new competition style with ease.

“Our students dove head-first into figuring out how best to make this new competition format work for them to win the national tournaments,” Pyle said. “The Team Championship at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament was the first of our three main competitive goals this season. Words cannot contain the amount of pride I hold in my heart for each of my students, graduate assistant coaches, volunteers, alumni and fellow administrators who have fought hard to reach this achievement.”

Additionally, 15 UA students placed in individual events at the tournament. The awards are listed below.

Poetry Interpretation

3rd Place: Cassidy Duncan

Program Oral Interpretation (POI)

3rd place: Elizabeth Tagg

Semifinalist: Casey Buisson

Quarterfinalist: Joslyn Drake


National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA)

Octafinalists: Isaac Sherman and David Zell


Individual Sweeps

2nd place: Cortland Stone

9th place: Isaac Sherman


After Dinner Speaking

6th place: Cassidy Duncan

Semifinalists: Cortland Stone, Anna Kutbay and Sandhu Aladuwaka

Quarterfinalist: Casey Buisson


Communication Analysis

2nd place: Isaac Sherman

Semifinalists: Anna Kutbay and Gentry Slay


Dramatic Interpretation

Champion: Cortland Stone


Extemporaneous Speaking

Semifinalist: Andrew Schmidt

Quarterfinalists: Sandhu Aladuwaka, Anna Kutbay and Isaac Sherman

Top 30%: Gentry Slay


Informative Speaking

3rd place: Sophie Akhtar

Quarterfinalists: Anna Kutbay, Tionna Tate and Isaac Sherman

Top 30%: Garrett Reynolds


Champion: Elizabeth Tagg

Semifinalist: Casey Buisson

Quarterfinalists: Cortland Stone, Grace McKelvey and Cassidy Duncan


Duo Interpretation

Champions: Elizabeth Tagg and Cortland Stone

2nd place: Sophie Akhtar and Cassidy Duncan

Semifinalists: Grace McKelvey and Casey Buisson



2nd place: Gentry Slay

3rd place: Anna Kutbay

4th place: Sandhu Aladuwaka

Semifinalists: Isaac Sherman



2nd place: Anna Kutbay

4th place: Cassidy Duncan

6th place: Tionna Tate

Semifinalist: Sophie Akhtar

Quarterfinalists: Garret Reynolds and Cortland Stone


The Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament took place Thursday, March 18 through Sunday, March 21. It is the first of three national tournaments the AFC team will compete in this semester.

The Alabama Forensic Council is The University of Alabama’s competitive speech team. As the oldest co-curricular organization on campus, the program aims to respect and build upon the successes of alumni and forge a path for our current and future students. AFC provides students with skills and resources to engage in intellectual discovery, enable professional development, strengthen and utilize their unique voices, construct compelling messages, engage in interpersonal and rhetorical exploration, and foster community through advocacy and argumentation.