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This item originally appeared in the February 17, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

BY JULIE MILLER

Managing editor

The debate team hosted its annual "Hot and Spicy" debate tournament Feb. 4 - 6, and won the overall sweepstakes competition, only to give up the award because of a personal policy not to accept the award if they are hosting.

Trey Gibson, debate team coach and an instructor of speech, said the team's numbers were clearly higher than any other team competing, but Tech felt it should pass the award along since it was the host school.

"One of the hardest things was winning but not getting the award that was worth $100," Gibson said.

Individual students were able to accept the awards, though. Matt LaCaze, a sophomore political science major, won first place speaker in varsity.

"It's always nice to be recognized," LaCaze said of his award. "I thought the tournament was amazing. Not only did we win the debate and do very well, but we also put on the whole thing."

LaCaze said the reason the team, which won the national title last year, did so well is because they are more like a close-knit family. "We pitch in and work hard as we debate," LaCaze said.

Kris Lucas, a sophomore speech communication major, won first in the varsity division.

"It was hard," Lucas said of the tournament. "There was fierce competition. On average, most of us debated 17 rounds, which averaged to about 37 hours spent debating. Plus we had added time cleaning up and everything. It was exhausting."

Christina Linza, a junior speech major, won first place speaker in the novice division.

Gibson said 12 schools around the region competed. They included Louisiana State University in Shreveport, University of Louisiana in Monroe, Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The debate was sponsored by McIlhenny's Tabasco, which provided gifts of tabasco. There were nearly 120 topics which ranged from social security to movie quotes.

"Any argument you could find in a newspaper, we used," Gibson said.

This was the first year the "Hot and Spicy" tournament presented the Scotty Hartner Award, which was made in honor of a debate student who is stationed in Iraq.

"It went to the individual who earned the most points in the debate," Gibson said. "The winner was Alan Trichell from LSU-S."

Overall, the team won 16 awards during the tournament. This makes its total awards of the year 96.

"Statistic-wise, we scored 66 points from individual events. The most we scored last year was 53, so we had 13 more wins than last year," Lucas explained.

Gibson added, "It's one of the best tournaments we've ever had."


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