September 21, 2011

Debate team opens season with strong showings

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team is off to a strong start to what promises to be yet another successful season.

The first tournament of the 2011-2012 academic year, at William Jewell College in Liberty Mo., featured two, back-to-back tournaments:  the William Jewell Cardinal Classic was Sept. 16-17, and the William Jewell Bowman Invitational was Sept. 17-18.   The William Jewell debates are the major opening debate tournaments for all serious debate teams.  Debate director Todd Graham noted that more than 50 teams were on hand for this tournament.

Saluki Debaters Ben Campbell (Springfield, Mo.) and Mike Selck (Blue Springs, Mo.) walked away bejeweled -- they won the Jewell Award for top team overall, an award given to the team with the highest combined record at both tournaments.  The duo was the only undefeated team in the preliminary debates, and in fact, they lost only one debate the entire weekend.  This is the first time SIUC debaters have received the Jewell Award, Graham noted.

The duo also won the William Jewell Bowman Invitational, the second tournament of the weekend.  Not only did they win the debates, Graham explained, but they also won with 17 ballots won and zero lost.  Graham said multiple judges sit through elimination rounds -- it is possible to win a round even with one judge dissenting.  In this case, judges agreed across the boards that the team won the debate.

In addition, judges named Campbell the top debater at the Bowman Invitational. 

New members Josh Rivers (Chicago) finished in the top 20 under individual judging, and he and partner Sid Rehg (Swansea, Ill.) tied for ninth in the first tournament and tied for fifth in the second tournament. 

The team also includes Andrew Thomas (Stockton, Calif.), who did not participate in these two tournaments; and graduate assistants Kyle Cheesewright, Steve Farias and former Saluki Debate champ, Kevin Calderwood.