February 13, 2014

Debate team gains two tournament titles

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Even with lineup changes the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team kept the momentum this weekend in winning back-to-back tournaments at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. 

Ariana Arnone, a freshman from Chicago in her first-year of collegiate debating and Josh Rivera, a junior also from Chicago, won the invitational Point Loma Round Robin Tournament of Champions on Feb. 7.  The pair followed by also winning the two-day Sunset Cliffs Classic Invitational Debate Tournament on Feb. 8-9. 

Rivera’s debate partner all season has been Ben Campbell, a senior political science major from Springfield, Mo.  But the switch gave Rivera and Campbell a chance to freshen up, and Arnone, who is a communication studies and political science dual major, the opportunity to work with more experienced debaters. 

Director of Debate Todd Graham said the first tournament is notable for its exclusivity, and the second tournament, with more than 100 teams competing, for sheer size. 

“Ariana and Josh beat the top teams in the country,” he said.  “If a team was (at Point Loma) that means they were already the best of the best, and SIU came out on top.  I’m especially proud of Ariana -- she is only a freshman, and to be part of the winning team was a tremendous accomplishment for her.” 

SIU will take the debate team on the road again this weekend to a tournament at Loyola University in Chicago.  It is their last debate weekend before the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), the national championships of collegiate debate.  SIU is the reigning championship debate team and the top-ranked team going into the tournament.  The NPTE is set for March 16-18 at Northern Arizona University.