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This item originally appeared in the Feb. 12, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

The annual Hot 'N' Spicy Tournament and the Intercollegiate Forensic State Championship were both held at Tech on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tech's debate team as a whole placed first in debate and placed third in the state.

"It was the best tournament we've hosted since I've been here," Trey Gibson, the director of debate and forensics and an instructor of speech, said.

Individual winners included Levy Leatherman, a senior speech major, who placed first in varsity debate and first in persuasive speaking, which made him the state champion in both categories.

Anne-Marie LeBlanc, a freshman speech communications major, placed second in novice debate.

Sheldon Clark, captain of the debate team and a junior business management and entrepreneurship major, placed third in persuasive speaking and sixth in after-dinner speaking.

Michael Melcher, a senior physics major, and Brooke Swanson, a senior accounting major, made it to the quarterfinals in varsity debate.

Jay Williams, a junior history and political science double major, went to the octafinals in novice debate.

Bill Willis, a sophomore speech major, went to quarterfinals in novice debate.

"We could have gone toe-to-toe," Gibson said. "Being the host we had to limit ourselves in individual events."

Gibson said this tournament was beneficial because it gave Tech an opportunity to showcase Tolliver, and this is also the best team he has ever coached.

Gibson also said many visitors gave positive feedback on Tolliver, and most people were "very, very impressed."

Topics for the debate varied between the political and philosophical issues and current events. Topics for this tournament included weapons of mass destruction, the Super Bowl halftime show and online voting for the presidential election.

Kris Lucas, a debate team member and a freshman political science major, said he adamantly wanted to dispel any rumor that hosting the tournaments gave Tech a "home court advantage."

"You can't have a home court advantage," Lucas said. "You have all the same people competing, all the same coaches and all the same results, usually."

Lucas said if anything, the Tech team had a home field disadvantage because they were organizing things and running around, which called for fewer entries.

"We reached a unanimous consensus," Lucas said after questioning his teammates about the advantages and disadvantages of hosting. "We're all in agreement: there was no advantage."

During a break Saturday teams and coaches clustered in places, working on strategies or warming up with tongue twisters such as "red leather, yellow leather."

Sunday morning, Tolliver was littered with pillows and ice chests. The tables were piled high with coats, backpacks and purses. Students munched on snacks and sandwiches as all waited for the awards ceremony to begin.

"It was tough," Gibson said. "We were scrapping for judges, but we had wonderful support from the department and faculty."

Gibson said he does not regret having to lower the number of debate entries for his team in order to host adequately.

"We could have done better," he said in reference to points and awards.

"But we did the better thing in hosting."

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