Siloam Springs, Ark (November 13, 2003) - It was a weekend of firsts for John Brown University’s speech and debate team. In the first regional tournament of the year, JBU placed first in debate, first in individual events and first overall combined at the Tulsa Community College Forensics Invitational in Tulsa, Okla., Nov. 7-8. For coach Jason Hough, this tournament was especially stressful. After Friday evening’s competition, he received a call from his wife, saying she was going into labor with their first child. “We found out we closed out the final round in debate,” said Hough. “I called my wife to tell her the good news, and she told me I should get home quick.” Hough quickly delegated responsibilities to assistant coaches Josh Bentley, Heather Brewer and Scott Crain, leaving the team for the first time in four-year history. Hough and his wife had a baby girl on Saturday afternoon. “I called Heather’s cell phone (later that evening), and the team was going nuts in the background,” said Hough. “They had just finished the awards ceremony.” The team didn’t miss a beat without their coach. In debate, juniors Lindsey Toney and Devi Abraham took first in team debate, followed by teammates junior Cole Truitt and senior Erin Sebeck in second place. Sophomores Felicia Parmain and Virginia Scott placed third. “It was impressive,” said Hough. “All three of the top JBU teams had a 4-0 record, so to determine who won they had to decide based on which team had the highest score in presentation.” These teams qualified for a national tournament to be held in the spring. With a 3-1 record, juniors Daniel West and Ali Arant, and sophomores Leila McNeil and Drew Joseph also qualified for the national tournament in debate. JBU also scored multiple awards in individual events. Leading the way were juniors Lindsey Toney and partner James Barnes who placed first in Dramatic Duo Interpretation. Toney also placed fourth in Impromptu Speaking and Barnes placed fourth in Prose Interpretation. Other awards include: freshman Nicole Ediger, first place, After Dinner Speaking; sophomore Felicia Parmain, second place, Prose Interpretation; sophomore Virginia Scott, third place, Poetry Interpretation; freshman Ben Rasmussen, fourth place, Informative Speaking; senior Stephen Sbanotto, fifth place, Dramatic Interpretation; sophomore Laura Shank, fifth place, Poetry Interpretation; junior Victoria McCracken, sixth place, Dramatic Interpretation. The team’s next tournament will be at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., Dec.5-6. John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,800 students from 42 states and 45 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.