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Debaters score at nationals

Amanda Nieto
Associate News Editor

The University of La Verne debate team is elated by its recent victory at the United States Universities National Championships where team La Verne MT ranked fifth out of the 192 teams.

Debate teams from some of the country’s best universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford, as well as top-rated international universities, competed at the University of Vermont from April 1 to April 3.

“It was a big step up,” Ryan Mansell, junior political science major and member of La Verne MT said. “It was great to be in there with four of the best teams of the nation, and to beat Ivy League teams.”

Out of the 192 competing teams, 32 advanced to the elimination rounds, with two of those teams being from ULV. Mansell and his teammate, Corey Teter, placed fifth and La Verne PP with Bryan Pride and John Patrick ranked 27. The team names, such as La Verne PP, represent the beginning letter in each member’s last name.

After the grueling competition, Harvard ultimately came in first.

“A lot of good rounds and a good mix of teams made for a good year,” Aaron Zamora, senior speech communications and political science major, said. Zamora and his team La Verne FZ did considerably well, ranking 47.

“We are trying to win nationals again, and we are getting closer each time,” Rob Ruiz, newly appointed director of forensics said.

Ruiz said that faculty was wanted to run the team after Josh Martin, the previous debate coach stepped down. John Patrick will now be filling in as the new Debate coach.

As director of forensics, Ruiz is the official overseer of the program.

“It puts a title that all other teams have; someone that leads the team makes it more official,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz has ambitious goals for the debate team such as his plan to host the U.S. Nationals on La Verne soil for the 2013 competition.

“It’s a big task for ULV to host, and my goal is for them to win it here,” Ruiz said.

The prospect of a La Verne victory in two years is something current members are not nervous for at all.

“We have new people which is good because many of us are graduating, and it’s nice to know people are interested,” Mansell said.

“This year we had three new speakers and they will be with us for the next few years,” Zamora said. “We are building a deep and young team.”

Although winning has been a top priority, Ruiz brings everything back into perspective.

“The students come first,” Ruiz said. “This is teaching them how to be good lawyers, businessmen and public speakers.”

The Debate team is always looking for new recruits. Those looking to join simply need to be interested in debate and enjoy traveling. The team meets at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in La Fetra Auditorium for class and practices at 7 p.m. on Fridays.

Amanda Nieto can be reached at amanda.nieto@laverne.edu.

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