February 27, 2007

Debate team captures championship

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. —Southern Illinois University Carbondale debaters are bringing home another championship trophy.

The team of Kyle B. Dennis, a junior majoring in economics from Blue Springs, Mo., and Justin J. Hingtgen, a senior majoring in business management from West Des Moines, Iowa, captured first place last weekend at a national debate tournament hosted by Willamette University in Salem, Ore.

The competition drew 50 debate teams from dozens of American colleges and universities, including the University of Washington, University of Oregon and University of Arizona.

"It was quite an impressive showing for Kyle and Justin," said Todd Graham, director of SIUC's debate program, which is part of the speech communication department in the College of Liberal Arts. "They debated so well, and in hostile territory. In the final round, everyone in the audience was rooting for the team from the northwest, the team from Western Washington University. But that didn't faze Kyle and Justin, and they just used that as motivation to break through and win the tournament. They debated almost flawlessly, and deserved the win."

This was the best showing this year for SIUC's debate team and its first tournament win of the year. "The Willamette tournament is one of the oldest Parliamentary Debate tournaments in the country, and it is the warm-up to nationals. The next tournament the Salukis will attend is in March, and is the national championship tournament," Graham said. "I think this will give us a huge boost before nationals, and the confidence that we can be successful anywhere."

The SIUC debate team is a member of the National Parliamentary Debate Association and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.