September 23, 2014

Debate squad begins season on strong note

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Coming off a second straight national title in March, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Debate Team began this debate season with a win and a strong showing. 

The team sent two duos to debate in season-opening, back-to-back tournaments at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The duo of two-time national champion Josh Rivera, a senior majoring in political science and new partner Zach Schneider, a senior majoring in computer science, won the Gina Lane Classic tournament on Sept. 19 with an undefeated record. The team of Ariana Arnone, a sophomore majoring in political science, and Aditya Sharma, a junior majoring in business economics, debuted by advancing into the top 16 teams during the first tournament. 

The team also excelled at the Georgia Bowman Invitational, the second tournament of the weekend, held on Sept. 20. The Rivera-Schneider duo finished third and their overall performance earned them the award for “Best Overall Debate Team” of the tournament. Todd Graham, director of SIU’s debate team, said this is the third year in a row SIU has earned that particular award and it’s the third time Rivera has been part of the winning team. The Arnone-Sharma duo placed second at the Bowman Invitational. 

Graham was enthusiastic about his team, particularly the early success of the less experienced duo of Arnone and Sharma. 

“It could not have been a better start for both teams, and for SIU overall,” he said. 

Mike Selck, formerly a two-time champion SIU debater himself, and Ben Reid, join Graham on the debate coaching staff. Both are graduate students in the communication studies program. 

The next debate tournament for SIU is at the University of California, Berkeley in early October.