Debate shows promise

Loss brings experience

The Los Medanos College Debate Team placed well within the rankings at the first debate of the season at Point Loma Nazarene University Feb. 6-8.

“There were a lot of high level teams there, so it was pretty intimidating. Teams were coming from all across the country to compete,” said LMC debater Joshua Noriega.

Top-level debate teams also attended the tournament at PLNU.

“The competition is fierce, but you learn a lot,” said LMC debater Yetunde Ogunleye, adding, “At the end of the day, you’re surrounded by people who are passionate about debating.”

Debate Team Coach Marie Arcidiacono said, “It’s a huge tournament for the region, and pools teams from all over the United States.”

The LMC Debate Team performed admirably despite being eliminated from the final rounds of debate, and was the only community college entered in the Worlds segment of the tournament.

“No one knew that we were a community college,” said Noriega. “They thought that we were university debaters because we were debating at a university level.”

Regardless of whether or not you take the top positions, every competition is an invaluable learning experience.

“One competition is equivalent to 3-4 practices,” indicated Ogunleye. “Whether you win or lose, you come out fulfilled.”

“It’s really good to see the progression of some of the more veteran debaters after each tournament,” said Arcidiacono. “We’re starting to see higher rankings in the round robin, and that’s really cool.”

The current team to beat is the United States Air Force Academy, who took both the first and second rankings for individual speakers.

Noriega said, “I look up to them in particular, not just because they’re great debaters, but because they’re classy and professional.”

Worlds format is a debate style created to be accessible to anyone and everyone. The goal is for anyone that attends to be able to sit in the audience and understand the debate.

The two teams are comprised of four members, each in a pair. These pairs are dubbed the first and second government and the first and second opposition. Teams are given their debate’s resolution, or topic, 15 minutes before they debate. The pairs are then separated from the rest of their bench, coaches and mentors to plan their arguments, allowed only written resources that they have brought.

When the 15 minutes of planning are up, the debate begins. Each speaker delivers a seven-minute speech with each side taking turns. During a person’s speech, any member of any team can ask to deliver a point of information or ask a question.

The Los Medanos College Debate team has nearly tripled in size from the last semester. Arcidiacono is thrilled with the progress of the team, and with the developing connections. “I’m starting to see some of the veterans taking the novices under their wings,” Arcidiacono said, “and I really like that.”

The debate team’s next tournament, the United States Universities Western Region Championship, will take place at Cal Poly San Luis-Obispo March 21-22.