Debate Team Starts Strong at First Tournament of the Season
Director Seeks Consistent Wins as Semester Progresses; Debaters Set to Compete at Kentucky Tourney
Oct. 4, 2013
The UT Dallas Debate Team started its 2013-14 season last month competing against more than 120 teams from across the country at the 2013 Baby Jo Memorial Tournament held by The University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Junior Samantha Varney placed 13th overall at a recent debate tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
The team’s successes included a ranking of 13th overall speaker for junior Samantha Varney. She and her teammate, freshman Mariah McHenry, finished with a preliminary record of 6-2, including wins over teams from The University of Kansas and Wake Forest University.
Varney and McHenry advanced to the elimination rounds – eventually losing to The University of Southern California.
“It’s a good start for us,” said Scott Herndon, debate program director. “We’re happy with Sam and Mariah’s performance, but obviously the goal is to see all of our teams winning more consistently. It’s not about how we start the year, but how we finish it. We’ve all got to keep our heads down and continue to improve.”
UT Dallas teams, sophomore Jacob Loehr with freshman Jacob Gonzales, and sophomore Rolando Velasquez with junior Anthony Ogbuli, also competed. Each finished with records of 3-5.
Sophomore Rolando Velasquez stands in front of a laptop as he prepares to practice debating. Gone are the days of debaters using countless sheets of paper. Debating "paperless" has become the norm.
“The team had a good run given that UMKC is the first tournament of the year and, therefore, the hardest to prepare for,” Varney said. “We had six debaters competing which is more than most schools. The team has done a lot of work in preparation for this tournament, and I think everyone has a good chance at doing well at our next match.”
The next debate tournament will be the Henry Clay Debates from Saturday through Monday at The University of Kentucky, one of the largest national competitions of the first semester.
In college debate, two teams, each composed of two students, face off on a general topic — one taking the affirmative position, the other the negative side. The topic for the 2013-14 season is “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the war powers authority of the President of the United States in one or more of the following areas: targeted killing; indefinite detention; offensive cyber operations; or introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”