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Debate team dominates

April 11, 2013

 

Team competes at Purdue, brings back major awards

 

KELSY KERSHAW
News Editor

 

World issues and public speaking are not all debate is about, at least not for Louisiana Tech’s team; they like to call themselves a family.

 

Shane Puckett, an instructor of speech communication, said the team is really a family experience.

 

Debate team members are: (top row) Darryl Ware, Ben Markway, Kelvin Spears, Walker Holmes and Baker Weilert and (bottom row) Braeden Shippen, Miranda Clark, Hannah Vincent, Hannah Schilling, Angel West and Sam Hathorn. – Submitted photo

“All the members of the team truly care about the others and want the other members to succeed,” he said. “It’s a close-knit group.”

 

On March 29-30, the team traveled to Purdue University in Indiana for their first-ever worlds debating competition, said Puckett, director of the team.

 

“While this wasn’t the largest worlds competition this year, the team competed against some very established names,” he said. “They took second place and were fantastic.”

 

Team members Walker Holmes and Ben Markway made it through to the final round of competition, Puckett added.

 

Holmes, a sophomore general studies major, who just joined the team at the beginning of winter quarter this year, said he could not have been more excited.

 

“My favorite memory of the trip was finding out we made it to the finals,” he said. “It was an awesome feeling to know that I had gone as far as I could, especially since it was my first tournament.”

 

Holmes and Markway, a senior accounting major, were partners for the competition, and Markway said they had great chemistry.

 

“While my partner and I had a connection, we also made one with another team from the University of Michigan-Flint,” he said.

 

Another team member, Angel West, who is a junior sociology major, said watching her teammates in the final round was her favorite memory from the trip.

 

“The two boys have put in a ton of effort and their hard work paid off,” she said. “I was not only a proud teammate, but also inspired by their ability to work in sync with one another.”

 

Puckett said worlds competition is the most difficult form of debate and has more complexities, and because the Tech team had little experience in that form going into the competition, it speaks volumes of the level of students at Tech.

 

“I’m very proud of this team,” he said. “This group is a special one, and our relationship is a close one. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have a group of debaters hanging out for a few minutes in my office.”

 

Their performances should be viewed less as a personal achievement and more as a success of the team, Holmes said.

 

“I think that anyone doing well is a direct result of the team as a whole,” he said. “The team and our coach deserve all the credit.”

 

Hannah Vincent, a sophomore agriculture education major, said the team always has fun when they are together.

 

“In the 13-hour ride there and back we just talked and laughed so much,” she said. “Rides like that one are why I love my team, and it shows how much of a family we are.”

 

She said she feels as if she can tell her teammates anything.  To her, it is funny because they all come from different backgrounds yet mesh so well as a group and, ultimately, a family.

 

The unity and family relationship between the team is a mutual and unanimous feeling among all the members, which they all make a point to emphasize.

 

“The sense of camaraderie and knowledge are my favorite things about being on the debate team,” Markway said. “Everybody loves everybody.”

 

Email comments to kjk016@latech.edu.


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