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Debate team continues success

Lauren Creiman
LV Life Editor

The debate team will part ways for the weekend as its members attend debate tournaments in New York and Oregon in order to prepare for the national championships.

Coach Josh Martin and team member Ryan Mansell will head to Colgate Univer­sity in New York while the rest of the team heads to the Portland State University Nationals Warm-Up.

“These are the only national tournaments we take seriously, because they help the team get ready for the national championship,” Rob Ruiz, professor of speech communication, said.

“Colgate is flying out Josh to lecture and teach before the tournament starts and to judge at the tournament so they have quality judges there,” Ruiz said.

The team recently participated in the Hawaii Pacific University Pan Pacific Champ­ionship, where they won the entire tournament and other awards including First Best Speaker and Third Best Speaker.

“We absolutely dominated the tournament,” Nicholas McGrail, senior speech communications major and debate team member, said. “We debated with teams from all over the United States, Canada and Korea, and we actually won it all.”

The teams that will compete in the tournaments this weekend were selected by Martin, who makes the selection based on performance in practices and ability to work with others.

Ruiz said he hopes the team will do well in the upcoming tournaments so they will be more confident and prepared for nationals.

Although he does not hold an official position in relation to the team, Ruiz facilitates the team and their technique with the help of fellow speech communications professor John Patrick.

“I’m just there to make them better,” Ruiz said. “John Patrick and I will always be involved in this debate team because we know we can always help them improve.”

Ruiz will accompany the team to the U.S. Universities Debating Championship at the University of Vermont April 1 to April 3 as a judge and an aid to the team.

“This is the biggest national championship for British Parlia­mentary style debate,” Ruiz said. “Nationals is one of our primary focuses along with the Oxford University Debate Championships and the World Universities Debating Champ­ionship.”

Sophomore speech communications and psychology major and team member Sam French is optimistic about the team’s chances this year.

“We had a pretty successful run in the past, and based on our recent win, I think we have the potential to go well at nationals,” French said.

“We usually make it to the semifinals, but hopefully this year we will at least make it to the quarterfinals and maybe even win the championship,” McGrail said.

Anyone who is interested in debate can still join the team.

The team meets in La Fetra Auditorium on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. for the class and has practices on Fridays at 7 p.m. in room 216 of Founders Hall.

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Lauren Creiman can be reached at

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