Spring break is usually reserved for vacation, but instead of beach umbrellas and surf boards, the University of La Verne debate team competed in the 2009 United States Universities National Debating Championships.
La Verne advanced three teams into top 32 at the event held at the University of Vermont.
“This was easily the most competitive running of the championship,” said Ian Lising, assistant professor of speech and debate and debate team coach. “We drew teams from many different countries.”
La Verne’s B team, consisting of sophomore political science major Corey Teter and freshman Ryan Mansell, advanced to the quarter finals after defeating the National Law School of India and the La Verne A team. The team made it to the quarter finals of the event.
“It was really cool,” Teter said. “When we won, it was awesome. It means that you’re in the top 10.”
“It not like those teams are easy to beat,” Lising said. “And the fact that La Verne was represented so well is something that everyone should be proud of.”
Fellow debater junior education major Brittany Lokar also went to the competition.
“I’m very happy that the other teams did well,” Lokar said.
The other two teams also fared well. Graduate student Thomas Allison and junior political science major Briana Pride comprised the La Verne A while freshman Aaron Zamora and senior criminology Shana Murphy made up the La Verne C team. The La Verne C team lost to Middle Temple.
Unfortunately, Teter’s team fell to current North American champions University of Toronto in the quarter finals.
La Verne also had another bright spot in the tournament. Associate director of forensics and former La Verne debater Josh Martin, received the Top Adjudicator Award. The award is given to the judge who received the highest marks from participants.
The debate teams also enjoyed more success this year. La Verne also won the Cal State Fullerton Debate Competition. Lising said that picking the teams is no easy task.
“We have such an competitive program,” Lising said. “There’re so many people competing for spots. It could get pretty intense.”
But Lokar said the team still are friends despite the competition.
“We’re all friends,” Lokar said. “We hang out together.”
Teter has been debating on the team for two years at La Verne. Teter said this was his first time at the national debate.
Teter said that he hopes that he can advance to 2010 World University Debating Championships at which will be held at Koc University in Turkey. Both Teter and Lokar enjoy debate.
“I love it,” Teter said “I always love to talk about politics and issues and know what’s going on in the world and this is a form to do so.”
“I really like being challenged intellectually,” Lokar said. “It’s just fun to argue.”
La Verne will be hosting an open individual debating tournament on May 2. The competition is free.
Jonathan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.