February 08, 2011

Debate team captures another tournament

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team continued its successful season with another tournament win last weekend.

The duo of Brandon Merrell, a senior from Snohomish, Wash., majoring in economics and political science, and Mike Selck, a sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., majoring in speech communication, were undefeatable at the Point Loma Nazarene College Sunset Cliffs 2011 tournament. More than 75 teams competed at the tournament. Merrell and Selck beat out teams from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Oregon in the final rounds.

Todd Graham, director of debate for SIUC, noted that SIUC has been in the finals at Point Loma for the last four years, finishing first three times and second once.

“Brandon has now won in his two years at SIUC every single tournament he has attended with his regular partner,” he said. Merrell’s partner last year was Kevin Calderwood, now a graduate assistant coach for the team.

The Point Loma debate was the last regular-season tournament before the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence National Championship. SIUC won the national championship in 2008, and finished second in national championship in 2009. The national championship tournament is set for March 11-14 in Denver, Colo.

The team also includes Ben Campbell, a freshman from Springfield, Mo., majoring in economics and political science, and Andrew Thomas, a junior from Stockton, Calif., majoring in English and philosophy, and graduate assistant coach Kyle Cheesewright.