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Pi Kappa Delta Hosts Weevil Wars

Linna Jones
Arts and Entertainment Editor

   The Debate Team and Pi Kappa Delta hosted Weevil Wars, giving students a chance to represent their schools in a debate tournament Oct. 6-7.

   Sixty-eight competitors from nine schools debated. The schools represented were: Louisiana State University at Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University in Baton Rouge, La., Har-Ber High School at Springdale, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Stephen F. Austin State University at Nacogdoches, Texas, Louisiana College in Pineville, La., Henderson State University at Arkadelphia, Mississippi College at Clinton, Mississippi College and University of Central Arkansas.  Three students competed from UAM - senior Joel Brown, senior Brian Rauls and senior Chris Halley.

   Debaters debated for six rounds, and the top competitors debated in four elimination rounds. Judges selected a winner after each debate and the top competitors competed in the elimination rounds. Winners received trophies, medals, pens, gavels and points according to their level and score. The points earned will go toward a season-long contest for a season-long tournament held at the end of March.  

    The tournament split competitors into three divisions: novice, varsity and open.   Competitors, who competed in the novice division, have competed in eight or less tournaments. Varsity debaters compete as students who haven’t earned their bachelor’s degree and open debates are open to anyone, including graduate students and coaches.  

   Scott Kuttenkuler, director of forensics, said participants can be competitive in tournaments.

    “You capitalize the C (in competitive),” Kuttenkuler said. “Some people take this competitively; they overvalue the win and sometime lose focus on how they do this.”

   First-year student Lauren Dunn, a communications major for Louisiana College, debated in her first tournament and won all six rounds. Dunn said she was happy to make it to eliminations.

    “(I am) extremely excited; this is my first tournament. I went 6-0 and I was shocked because this was my first tournament,” Dunn said. “I was blessed to have done so well.”

   The winners of the debate included:

  • Novice - junior J. J. Thomas and senior Dustin Cook from Har -Ber High School at Springdale
  • Open - Sam Bailey from LSUS
  • Varsity - John Nichols from SFA

   Judges for the tournament included students and coaches from UAM and other schools. Judges for debate tournaments need to be unbiased and to judge debaters according to the arguments they presented. Many judges judging in Weevil Wars are debate students, coaches and lay judges (people who never debated or judged before).

    Judging often intimidates lay judges because they are afraid to make a mistake, but the International Public Debate Association needs people who haven’t debated to judge because of the need to have persuasive arguments by debaters.

   Senior Lauren Raynor worked for two weeks getting the tournament in order. The coach and team helped to get everything ready.

   “One thing I really saw was all the teams working together to help things move along,” Raynor said. “Everyone had a great attitude.”

Eric Bell  contributed this article.

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ŠThe Voice 2007
Revised 09/17/2007 07:50:05 PM —