October 10, 2013

Debate team earns big tournament victory

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team is the first team in the country to qualify for the 2014 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

The duo of Ben Campbell, a senior political science major from Springfield, and Josh Rivera, a junior political science major from Chicago, won the Golden Gate Invitational debate tournament last week at the University of California, Berkeley.  The finish, in addition to tournament wins a few weeks ago, is enough to qualify the team for the national tournament, March 20-23, at Northern Arizona University.

Campbell and Rivera are 29-1; the won-loss record in debate includes scores from multiple judges during a tournament. Rivera earned top individual tournament debater honors.

This makes the third straight year SIU Carbondale won the Golden Gate Invitational. Rivera has been part of all three victories, each time with a different partner.  No other debater has won the tournament as many times as Rivera, said Todd Graham, director of SIU’s debate program.

Rivera is one half of the SIU Carbondale dual national champion team from last year.  He and Mike Selck won the national championships in both of the collegiate leagues in which SIU debates. 

"Berkeley is special," Graham said.  "With Berkeley’s historical connection to the free speech movement, SIU could not be more proud to say that we are setting records in the practice of argumentation and debate at this prestigious and time-honored event."

SIU Carbondale’s freshman team, Ariana Arnone, a speech communications and political science major from Chicago and Saxon Metzger, an economics major from San Marcos, Calif., reached the tournament quarterfinals.