November 09, 2011

Debaters capture prestigious tournament

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- When the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team accepts an invitation to an exclusive tournament, they aren’t shy about winning it.

The SIU Carbondale debating duo of Ben Campbell (Springfield, Mo.), a junior political science major, and Mike Selck (Blue Springs, Mo.), a sophomore speech communication major, won the Pat Kennedy Round Robin tournament last weekend at the University of the Pacific. 

The invitational tournament includes only the top 12 university debate programs.  Not only did Campbell and Selck win the tournament as a debate duo, Selck also snagged the position of top debater of the tournament -- for the second year in a row.  Selck is the first debater ever to reprise the role of top debater at this tournament.

“The Pat Kennedy Round Robin is a special event,” Todd Graham, director of the SIU Carbondale debate program, said.  “It’s hard enough just to get an invite, but then to win the tournament is pretty incredible.”

The weekend included the Paul Winters Open Tournament, which, with more than 100 debate teams competing, is the largest tournament of the fall semester.

The duo of Josh Rivera (Chicago), a freshman political science major, and Sid Rehg (Swansea), a sophomore business major, advanced to the semifinals in that tournament and finished third.

“There were some fine schools, so I was quite proud of Josh and Sid,” Graham said.  “They had to go through schools like Berkeley, the University of Nevada, and the University of Utah among others.”

Graham added that he is happy with the team’s performance so far this season.  However, he said, the team can’t rest on its laurels, but must continue working to stay in top form.

The SIU Carbondale Debate Team begins its next semester of competition with four tournaments over the winter break in Utah and Washington.