UNT debate team sends two teams to national tournament

UNT debate team sends two teams to national tournament

Morgan Gentry // Contributing Writer

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or the third straight year, UNT will be represented in the National Debate Tournament.. From March 27 to April 1, four qualifying members from the UNT debate team will be among other 78 two-person teams, competing in the most prestigious tournament in competitive policy debate for U.S. college and university students.

The tournament will be held on Indiana University’s campus and the debate will be focused on the U.S. government’s judicial restrictions on the president’s war powers authority for targeted killing, indefinite detention and offensive cyber operations or the introduction of the U.S. military into war.

“We’ve had a wonderful group of students who have worked really hard to make this a reality,” said Brian Lain, communication studies professor and debate team coach. “They are doing a fantastic job, especially when you consider that we’re competing against every other university across the country. To be included in a list to even qualify is a significant honor.”

Communications studies senior Brian Kersch and communication studies sophomore Maxwell Anderson will be competing as a team, alongside teammates Colin Quinn – a communications studies junior – and Hope Sauceda – a political science junior.

In the past three weeks, the teams have doubled their practices to about two or three hours each day and skipped out on spring break to prepare.

Lain said the tournament is competition-based and UNT’s debate team belongs to a district. After competing in the district tournament Feb. 28 through March 2, UNT’s two teams placed in the top 11 out of a field of 28 competing for spots.

“[Our district] included every college that wants to participate in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. So anybody involved in the area can participate in the district,” he said. “The district only allocated 11 teams to apply out of all of those states.”

In order to surpass the other schools, the debate team has been focusing on primarily two things: expanding their research and frequenting more practices.

The team has been extensively preparing research since August when the 2014 debate question was announced. While focusing on the war powers of the president, the members have been digging deeper and creating arguments specific to counter-attacking the opposing teams.

Quinn has dedicated nine years of time, preparation and determination into debate. Quinn said even through the tough practices, the chemistry between the team members remains present and they’re much like a family.

“If someone does fall behind or gets busy with schoolwork and they don’t have that much time to debate, there’s always someone there who can pick up some slack [and] coaches are there to help people stay motivated,” Quinn said.

Feature photo: 2014 DeMougeot Debates eagle trophies. The DeMougeot Debates were held at UNT in January.  Photo courtesy of UNT Debate Facebook page. 

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