Debate Team Earns ‘Outright Win’ in Kansas City
Feb. 15, 2012
The UT Dallas debate team is off to a strong start in 2012, including an “outright win” in Kansas City.
The partnership of Collin Roark and Wes Dwyer took first place at the Brian Johnson Memorial Tournament, hosted by the University of Missouri, Kansas City from Jan. 28-30.
“The nature of intercollegiate debate makes an outright win at a tournament something rare. This is the first tournament win for UT Dallas since September 2009,” said Chris Burk, director of debate and a political science lecturer at UT Dallas.
Seniors Dwyer and Roark have been ranked in the nation's top 25 since the beginning of the season.
Three other teams from UT Dallas competed – each of them reaching the elimination rounds.
The team of Mayu Takeda, a junior political science major, and Samantha Varney, a freshman business major, had a record of four wins, three losses. The team of Dalton Mott, a freshman political science major, and Ted Kontopolous, also a freshman, finished in the top 16.
Three UT Dallas debaters were honored individually at the Kansas City tournament for being among the top speakers. Roark was awarded second, Dwyer seventh and Varney 15th place of the 130 total participants in their division.
“We've had a lot of success this season, but this is our first tournament win. It was nice to see so many of our team members making an impact. It bodes well for the continued success of the team,” said Scott Herndon, associate director of debate and a lecturer in literature.
The recent victory comes after the UT Dallas debate team hosted its own annual tournament in January, “Fear and Loathing in Dallas Debates.” This was the ninth consecutive year that UT Dallas has hosted the tournament. More than 100 teams and 300 people from 19 states attended.
“We were happy with the nation-wide attendance. Debaters and coaches from across the country attended. It’s a plus to draw so many people from so many different colleges to the UT Dallas campus,” Burk said.
In college debate, two teams, each composed of two students, face off on a general topic — one taking the affirmative position, the other the negative side. The topic for the 2011-12 season is “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its democracy assistance for one or more of the following: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen."
The debate team will next head to its last major tournament at UT Austin, then prepare for regional championships in late February and national tournaments in March.