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USM Speech and Debate Team Turns in Strong Performance at Opening Tourney

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 15:08pm | By: David Tisdale

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Speech and Debate team opened the 2020-21 season at a virtual tournament hosted by Lee College, and with only four competitors turned in what is considered the team’s strongest ever collective performance and a 20-4 record at the event.

USM’s results from the tournament include the following:

*Sophomore Honors College student Kelli Kirkland, an English and legal studies major, went 6-0 in prelims and made it to the semifinals of the Novice division.

*Sophomore Douglas Rehm of Mobile, Alabama, a finance major, went 5-1 in in the event’s preliminary round and made it to the semifinals of the Varsity division.

*Sophomore Honors College student Will Duley of New Albany, Mississippi, an applied economics major, went 5-1 in prelims and won the Junior Varsity division, without dropping a ballot in the elimination rounds. He was also named top speaker.

*Sophomore Adam Berry of Quitman, Mississippi, a forensic biology major, had a winning record (4-2) in the Novice division, and narrowly missed advancing to elimination rounds on speaker points.

Dr. L. Paul Strait, an assistant professor in the USM College of Arts and Science’s School of Communication, serves as director of the program, aided by graduate assistant coaches Abbey Barnes and Josh Hendricks. Learn more about the USM Speech and Debate program at