The LMC Debate Team hosted the fifth annual Steeltown Invitational Debate Tournament last weekend. Competing with the likes of Humboldt State, University of Nevada at Reno, Dominican University and University of LaVerne, the LMC debaters were the only community college at the tournament.
Despite the clout of their competitors, the LMC Debate Team did exceptionally well. Two partnerships, one including the fresh-faced debaters Julian Samano and Jensen Ready, and the other including Luis Martinez and Melissa Torres, both advanced to the Novice Final Round on the first day of debates.
On the second day of debates LMC continued to show prowess as they advanced through the rounds. Partners Felero Smith and Kelly Williams found themselves in second place at the end of the tournament, with Smith winning fourth best speaker overall. However, their Humboldt competitors ultimately took first place.
“We hate losing, we hate coming close to losing. In theory if I got second, I just made a joke that I hate being second, but you made it to finals,” said Smith about the almost-win.
Smith believes their loss came from the combination of two key problems: the first being that he and Williams failed to support each other’s arguments throughout the round and the second round, he said, could be chalked up to them being a relatively new partnership.
“This is our first debate with one another formally, so we’re learning each other’s styles and that’s really important,” said Smith.
In a field made up of students from four-year universities, however, it was a pretty good win, conceded speech professor Zack Feere. Feere was among a handful of LMC professors who volunteered to judge the rounds of debates.
“You also have to consider that LMC is a community college,” said Feere. “Many of the universities we are competing with are bringing teams with debaters who have three or four years of experience.”
Debate coach Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman was happy with the overall improvement the team showed, especially in light of it still being a rebuilding year for the team.
“They’re definitely making progress and it’s really awesome to see how they can take small changes and start to see those changes produce success in the round,” said Arcidiacono-Kaufman.
As for the novices, Arcidiacono-Kaufman sees potential there and hopes that their experience at Steeltown will help further motivate them.
“I think it’s just about finding their debate legs if you will, [and] being able to realize that they can do this, that they know more than they think” said Arcidiacono-Kaufman.
The LMC Debate team has a handful of other debate tournaments this semester. They will be competing at University of Laverne March 22 through March 25. They go to nationals in South Carolina in mid-April. The public debate will be held in Room LCO-121 May 8.