Team spars in tourney

Debaters go against big name colleges

Los Medanos College’s debate team was in San Diego to compete in the San Diego State University Aztec Invitational Tournament from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4.

The Mustangs went up against a host of big name colleges. LMC’s debate coach Marie Arcidiacono, listed them out.

“Our LMC debaters competed and held their own against teams from: The United States Air Force Academy, the University of Southern California, Cal Poly, Claremont College, Point Loma Nazarene University, Regis University, Pepperdine University and the University of La Verne,” said Arcidiacono.

LMC sent four veteran debaters: Grace Babayan, Taylor Gonzalez, Yetunde Ogunleye and Sarah Zamjahn, who, according to Arcidiacono, “competed hard each and every round. While LMC did not break into the elimination finals,” she said. “Our debaters came out of every round with a smile on their face, positive feedback from other coaches/judges and a new found bag of knowledge to pull from,” she added.

“Our debaters debated a variety of topics, with 15 minutes of preparation time and no access to the internet on topics that included: The Pope, United States military action to deter Russia, Elimination of Animal Subsidies, and regretting the 2nd Amendment, to name a few,” said Arcidiocono.

LMC debate team member, Yetunde Ogunleye, explained why LMC debated against universities instead of other community colleges.

“There aren’t enough other community colleges in British Parliamentary debate to form a league, so we compete with universities from around the country, like UCLA, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Cal Poly, United States Air Force academy, Claremont, Point Loma, university of Vermont, and others,” said Ogunleye.

Another member of the debate team, Sarah Zamjahn, described what it was like to go against the tougher competition.

“It’s a pretty stressful situation prepping for a round but once I get into the round I just get really excited to debate,” said Zamjahn. “It’s challenging going against higher level schools but once we realize that we’re usually the only community college, we think ‘Wow I guess we’re good enough to go against them.'”

“It being our first tournament of the season, I think we were a little rusty but as the rounds went on we all definitely saw improvement in our LMC teams,” said Zamjahn.

One highlight of the trip came at the back end.

“On our way home from San Diego we ran into the 27th California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. The debaters and Tom were able to chat before the flight home and discuss current events. Tom and his wife, Mae Cendana Torlakson even took time to take a picture with our debaters.” Zamjahn added, “Meeting Tom Torlakson was awesome. He was really nice and seemed really interested in what the debate team does. It happened because Taylor from our team recognized him and went up to him and sparked a conversation and introduced us all.”

The LMC debate team is gearing back up to head back out to southern California for the USU National Championships held at Claremont McKenna College. Their first public debate this semester will be Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Pittsburg City Hall.