September 19, 2012

Debate team begins season on winning note

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team began the 2012-2013 season by winning back-to-back tournaments at William Jewell College in Kansas City.

Debate tournament hosts often schedule two tournaments in two days, as in this case. This dual tournament, Sept. 15-16, was the opening event of the collegiate parliamentary debate season.

The SIU Carbondale duo of Mike Selck, a senior from Blue Springs, Mo., majoring in speech communication and Josh Rivera, a sophomore from Chicago majoring in political science, won both tournaments, defeating roughly 50 other debate duos. In addition to the twin victories, the team earned the Jewell Award, an award the college presents to the top debate duo of the tournament weekend. This is the second consecutive year Selck has won the award.

"The tournaments at William Jewell College are significant because of the timing and the size," Todd Graham, said director of debate at SIU Carbondale, noting that the debate season opener is traditionally well attended.

"Every team wants to see how they stack up against the competition for the upcoming year," he said.

"Everyone," then, knows that SIU Carbondale is coming into the season strong. The top three individual debaters at the tournament were all Salukis: Selck, Rivera and Ben Campbell, a senior from Springfield, Mo., majoring in political science.

Campbell, who debated with partner Sid Rehg, a junior from Swansea majoring in speech communication, finished third in the first tournament, and tied for ninth at the second tournament.

SIU Carbondale has finished in the top four at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence -- the debate equivalent of the national championships -- four times in the past five years. Because of their strong showing at this first debate of the season, the duo of Selck and Rivera already qualified to compete in the year-end, invitation-only tournament.