Debate Team wins big at tourney

Do not argue with the Northeast State Debate Team.

The College’s Debate Team began their fall break by competing in the 2012 Smoky Mountain Parliamentary Debate Tournament held at Walters State Community College on Oct. 13.  They walked away with several awards including the 1st place Team Award for the tournament.

“I am extremely pleased with the effort of all the students and, of course, the results; I look forward to further competition,” said Dr. Rick Merritt, assistant professor of Speech and Debate Team coach.

Rocky Graybeal and Anne Rowell took the 1st Place Team Award in the Smoky Mountain Parliamentary Debate Tournament.

Northeast State competed with 16 teams and 28 fellow debaters.  The Northeast State Debate Team of Britny Fox, Nicole Neilson, Jose Martin, Anne Rowell, and Rocky Graybeal represented the College. Debaters came from community colleges, four-year public and four-year private institutions from three states.

The event was held using the Parliamentary debate format modeled after the Parliamentary debates in England.  In this format teams receive the topic 20 minutes before the start of the round.

The debaters argued topics such as the right to regulate soda size, creating a UN standing army, and the size of government.  The tournament featured three preliminary rounds to determine who would participate in the semifinals.

Fox and Neilson earned a victory against an East Tennessee State University team with Neilson being named the 2nd Place Speaker out of the four in the round.  Martin teamed with Henry Mendoza a member of the Walters State team to form a hybrid team.  This is commonly done to give debaters an opportunity to participate.  Martin and Mendoza bested a team from Middle Tennessee State University with Martin being named the 2nd Place Speaker in the round.

The team of Rowell and Graybeal earned victories in each of their three preliminary rounds defeating teams from ETSU, MTSU, Tennessee State University, and Berea College.  Rowell nabbed two first-place speaker ratings in the first and second round.  Because of her strong showing in the first two rounds, Rowell garnered the 2nd Place Speaker Award for the entire tournament.

Rowell and Graybeal won their semifinal round against a Berea College to face off with team from Walters State in the final. The topic was about sacrificing economic growth for the sake of the environment.  In the round there were four judges and the audience was given a potential tie-breaking vote.  After the round the judges made their decision and the audience was brought back into the room.  A show of hands indicated the audience supported the Northeast State team’s position. This tie-breaking vote gave Rowell and Graybeal 1st Place Team honors for the tournament.

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