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Aggie debate team out-talks 20 colleges to win regional tourney

November 16th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

USU Public Relations & Marketing

LOGAN—The defending conference champion Utah State University Speech and Debate Team won its first 2011 conference tournament at Linfield College last weekend, competing against more than 20 universities from across the northwest at the 81st annual R.D. Mahaffey Memorial Forensics Tournament in McMinnville, Ore.

The tournament is one of the oldest intercollegiate tournaments in the region and offers individual events as well as novice, junior and open divisions for debate. Debate topics were about current events and changed for each round of the competition. Contestants were judged on various aspects of speaking, including persuasion and dramatic interpretation.

The Aggie team has only three returning members from last year, but the new debaters stepped up, with two USU students recognized among the top five debaters in the tournament, said team mentor Tom Worthen.

Senior economics major Justin Jerez was recognized as the top debater, and sophomore biology major Chelan Rogers was fourth best. The two also took third as a team in parliamentary debate.

The USU squad dominated in the one-on-one competition. Public health junior John Kimball won his division, and senior environmental studies major Quinn Larson won in the novice division. During the character debate competition—in which students debate in roles such as Yoda or presidential candidate Ron Paul—Larson and English senior Ashlee Reeder both took second.

Utah State students also placed in speech events. Kimball grabbed second place in persuasive speaking and fourth in impromptu; Reeder placed fifth in impromptu; Rogers took third in persuasive speaking, and Jordan Tilley nabbed second in novice persuasive speaking. Speech comm major Sylvia Johnson won the novice division in persuasive speaking and placed fourth in novice informative speaking.

The team’s next tournament is at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. The USU team hopes to win the conference title for the eighth consecutive year, Worthen said.


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