Debate team wins nationals

The Washburn University Debate Team is celebrating this week after its win at the 2010 National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship .

The event was held at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The NPDA is one of the oldest and largest debate competitions with approximately 190 teams and 360 speakers  from 60 universities competing this year.

Washburn was represented at the competition by 10 teams. Four of them ended up in the tournament part of the competition, which lead them to win the title. Their topics this year covered many current events, including health care, military involvement in Afghanistan and the Roman Catholic Church.

This year the team won Overall Squad Sweepstakes, which is not based on how well teams do in the competition, but rather on the depth of the arguments of the team members.

“We feel that the Team National Championship is what Washburn wants to win because it is the true measure of the team. We have a lot of depth, we’re like the Yankees in that aspect,” said Steve Doubledee, assistant director of forensics.

 For the past four years the team has been striving for this title. Three years ago, the team won third place, and the past two years it has been runner up.

This year, two of the team members made it to the top 10 individually. Joe Allen, a junior majoring in sociology, received third overall and his teammate, Laura Knoth, also a junior sociology major, placed fifth.

A reception was held in the lobby of the Living Learning Center for university president Jerry Farley to congratulate the team on their victory. Farley said that he was very proud of the team.

Both coaches, Doubledee and Kevin O’Leary, director of forensics, were on hand for the reception and thanked Farley for his continuing support of the debate team.

The team was present for the reception. One team member was not in attendance. O’Leary said that Bobby French, one of the debaters that made it to the tournament, had to be taken to the hospital immediately after the contest. O’Leary said that he had spoken with French’s parents who said he was fine and should be back home soon.