Glenville State University’s Pioneer Debate Team Places Strong at Dayton, OH Tournament 
Thu Feb 15, 2024
Glenville State University’s Pioneer Debate Team Places Strong at Dayton, OH Tournament 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2023 

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Glenville State University’s Pioneer Debate Team Places Strong at Dayton, OH Tournament 


Glenville State University's Pioneer Debate team competed in the National Educational Debate Association's (NEDA) Tartan Tournament at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH February 9-10. The policy tournament featured more than 30-teams from Slippery Rock University, Wayne State University, University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, Glenville State University, Capital University, and Indianapolis Math & Science Academy.  

Pioneer Debate’s Jahzeiah Wade (Junior Athletic Coaching and Conditioning & History and Political Science major) and Beth Nichols (Freshman Education major) teamed up for a 3rd Place divisional finish. “The most valuable thing I took away from this tournament experience,” said Wade, who also serves as GSU’s Student Government President, “was being able to analyze and interpret a resolution in different ways to either prove or disprove its effectiveness.” The Tartan Tournament featured an immersive 3-hour policy workshop Friday evening followed by nine hours of policy debates on Saturday. “Participating in debate has had a profound impact on my personal growth,” said Nichols, “It taught me the importance of critical thinking and how to use my mind in innovative ways that I never thought possible.”  


The team was joined by fellow Pioneer Debate competitors Rebekah Hypes (Sophomore Criminal Justice major), Sandra Crites (Sophomore Education major), and Trey Cloutier (Senior Information Systems major). Hypes and Crites continued their strong competitive streak from last year’s Slippery Rock, PA tournament, and Cloutier, fresh off his recent 2nd Place finish in NEDA’s 2023 online tournament, competed in his first in-person event.  


Pioneer Debate next hosts GSU’s first ever competitive, regional tournament, the “Pioneer Holler,” March 15-16 on campus in Glenville, WV. GSU President, Dr. Mark Manchin will provide opening ceremony remarks, and GSU alumni owned and operated Aroma of the Andes will provide free fair, trade brewed coffee during the tournament. “We are excited to take this next step in competitive debate,” said Pioneer Debate Director and Coach Dr. Brian Johnston, adding, “I’m proud of our team, including those behind the scenes coming out to meetings or helping with our marketing and research. Pioneer Debate continues to set the bar for blazing new pathways to professional development for our students.”  


Dr. Brian Johnston (Department of Language and Literature) directs and coaches Pioneer Debate along with Dr. Josh Squires (Political Science) who also coaches GSU's first debate team in 25 years. Pioneer Debate seeks funding to support travel to competitive debate tournaments. Contact GSU VP of Advancement David Hutchinson by email ( or phone (304-462-6381) to support Pioneer Debate.  


PIONEER DEBATE is a co-curricular competitive debate team in the Department of Language and Literature at Glenville State University. Students develop professional skills in critical thinking, civil listening, argumentation, research, and creative problem-solving through weekly meetings, competitive debates, and campus events. Participation in Pioneer Debate is open to all GSU students.  


NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL DEBATE ASSOCIATION is an academic debate circuit serving the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.