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PLNU Debate Team wins second place at Aztec Invitational

by Autumn Shultz

The PLNU Debate Team won second place out of nearly 30 colleges at the Aztec Invitational this past weekend. This tournament was their first of the year and universities from Utah, Arizona, Texas, and California participated.

Sophomore Joshua Gilbert, a member of the team, said the debate tournament was a stressful but exciting way to start the year.

“The debate tournament was a lot of fun.” said Gilbert. “It was actually the first debate tournament of the year, so there was a lot of pressure to perform… [Debate] is a sport for the mind.”

Overall, the PLNU team earned a second place trophy for the four-year school division. The entire team participated in a variety of events, including dramatic interpretation, after-dinner speaking, and impromptu. Although many of the parliamentary debate teams from the squad were unable to make it into the final rounds, a few of the novice debaters and one senior division team won their events and advanced into the final rounds.

In the open division of Lincoln Douglas Debate, five of the seven debaters advanced to the elimination round. Each of these students earned an award. Winning Bronze awards were Stephanie Haas, Christopher Danks and Brandon West. Winning Silver Awards were Kayla Cook and Daniel Robert Spencer.

In the open division of Parliamentary debate, senior Christopher Danks and freshman Caleb Moore won gold. Freshmen Lauren Jacobs and Jordan Hill earned a bronze in the novice division of the same event.

Novice students on the team included freshmen Lauren Jacobs, Jordan Hill, Victoria Saunders, and Ben Becker. Jacobs, Hill, and Becker competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, a debate style characterized by two people debating against one another on a single topic, and returned with a three way tie for Gold in the Novice division. Victoria Saunders earned fourth place in the open division of Prose Interpretation.

The new students this year show a lot of potential and bring a new energy to the team, Assistant Director of Forensics Melissa Lazaro said.

“I see a lot of promise in our team this year,” said Lazaro. “We have a lot of new students who bring with them a lot of talent and skills already. Our team is rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to take on the year.”

According to senior Daniel Robert Spencer, new students are recognized as key members of the team.

“Novices traditionally are the basis of performance for the team,” said Spencer. “Oftentimes the novices are overlooked. However, they are some of the most important members of the team because they provide us with a lot of sweepstake points.”

The next tournament for the team is at Grossmont College from Nov. 8-10.

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