Debate team excels in Pan American Championship

February 6, 2014


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The Louisiana Tech debate team posed for a photo in Miami where they competed in the Pan American Championships. – Submitted photo

Paul Dauterive
Staff Reporter


The Louisiana Tech debate team made their way to the international scene when they competed and advanced in an international bilingual competition at the University of Miami Jan. 24-26.


The team advanced to the quarter finals in the Pan American Championships, making Tech’s debate team one of the top 16 teams from North and South America.


“I am very proud of these debaters,” said Shane Puckett, a speech professor and director of the debate program. “The last three years this debate team has taken off.”


Puckett said despite limited funding, the team has still managed to fare well against bigger schools with more resources.


“We are against teams with 50 member squads as opposed to our 12,” Puckett said. “The team has had to drive to most competitions, including one in Toronto, Canada.”


Puckett said other teams and coaches are impressed by Tech’s debaters because of their ability to persevere despite limited resources.


Samuel Hathorn, a sophomore education major, said Tech’s debate team has recently been put on the map with success at a competition in India, as well as a second place finish at Purdue.


“It is a big deal to make it that far among so many teams in Miami,” Hathorn said.


Hathorn said Tech is hosting a debate tournament in March.


“We have great teams coming, like Vermont, which is huge on the debate circuit,” he said. “This brings our tournament legitimacy.”


Hannah Schilling, a senior journalism and political science major and Tech debate team president, said the team competes in the World University Debate Championship style.


“We are trying to bring this style of debate to the South,” Schilling said.


In the WUDC style of debate, there are four teams of two in the room. Each speaker gets seven minutes to speak, and at the end of the round, teams are given ranks; one being best, and four being worst.


Schilling said this form of debate is used throughout the world at high levels of competition.


“The fact that we are going to major tournaments is huge,” Schilling said. “It is a big deal that we are competing on this level.”


Kelvin Spears, a senior studio art major, said competing in an international debate tournament was a great experience.


“We got to experience many different cultures at one time,” Spears said. “When you meet people from these places, it expands your views.”


Email comments to pdd010@latech.edu.


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