With 20 trophies from four tournaments, debate team ready to host first on-campus competition

As the newest addition to the International Public Debate Association tournament circuit, SHSU’s debate team is already making a name for itself. Experiencing rapid growth and increasing success has led the team to take the next logical step when it comes to the world of competitive debate: hosting a debate tournament themselves.

The genesis of that will take the form of “SHSU ‘Turf Wars'” to be held this weekend in the new CHSS building on campus. The tournament, a three-day event, will serve as both a substantial fundraiser for the team and also a way of building SHSU’s debate reputation.

“This is the first debate team that Sam has had in years,” SHSU graduate student and debate team head coach Adam Key said. “Three months ago when we officially restarted the team, I was hoping to be able to grow enough and be successful enough to be able to host a tournament in 2010. But the fact that we’re already able to do it after three months is just amazing.”

The tournament comes on the heels of a successful weekend for the team at the LIFA/Tri State tournament in Bossier City, Louisiana. With eight Bearkats competing, the team took home ten trophies, including the team debate championship, bringing their total count to over 20 in only four competitions.

“To be a team new to the circuit and already have this kind of success is a real testament to both Adam’s coaching and how much we’re really enjoying ourselves,” said team co-captain Clayton Goss.

Sam Roberson, who competed for the first time at the LIFA tournament, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it,” he said. “This was the first time I had competed and I’m for sure hooked on it already. My teammates are beasts!”

Being new on the circuit and experiencing success were the two main factors in naming the tournament “Turf Wars,” according to Key.

“We’re definitely the proverbial new kids on the block,” said Key, “and that was the inspiration for ‘Turf Wars.’ We wanted a name that humorously captured that spirit of being new and also shaking things up a bit with our success.”

Critical to the success of the tournament is the supply of judges needed to adjudicate each of the individual debate rounds. The format of the debate is specifically geared to lay audiences, which also allows anyone interested to judge.

“We definitely are looking for judges,” said Key. “It’s a great way for fraternities, sororities, the SGA, or any other student organization to earn service hours. Faculty, staff, or anyone else with an interest in current events or finding out what debate is all about is more than welcome to judge.”

The team will also be providing free meals for judges who commit to judging multiple rounds. A Facebook group for interested judges where more information is available has been created, but anyone can email amk023@shsu.edu for more information as well.

“We love our judges and we treat them well, so anyone interested should definitely come check it out,” said Key. “Whether you can only judge one round or as many as ten, we can use you and your help will be more than appreciated.”

The tournament is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Friday in the new CHSS building and run through Sunday afternoon.

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