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By LESLEY REED lsr003@latech



Tech’s debate team took the state title for the fourth year in a row at the Louisiana Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championships at Louisiana State University-Alexandria, which took place last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“We really dominated at this debate against the best teams from across the state,” Trey Gibson, an instructor of speech and director of debate, said. 

Tech’s win-loss record at the LIFA debate was 50-33.  

“We had winners across the board, in almost every event, especially in the individual events,” Gibson said.

Matt LaCaze, a junior political science major, placed as one of the top two debaters in the state and qualified to participate in the Interstate Oratory National Debate competition.

“I’m proud of all of my teammates, and it was truly amazing to watch everyone do their best this weekend,” Kyle O’Neal, a member of the debate team and a junior speech major, said.

The team took 14 debaters to the LIFA this year, O’Neal said.

“We’re like a family, we truly love and support one another, and that makes all the difference,” O’Neal said.

The best may be yet to come, Gibson said. 

“I think we’ve sealed the deal for the national debate team rankings,” Gibson said.

Another big event will take place this weekend.

Debate teams from 12 Louisiana colleges and universities are scheduled to compete Saturday and Sunday as the Tech debate team hosts its annual “Hot ‘n Spicy” tournament.

“Many teams from different parts of the state, as well as Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas will be there, and it’s going to be a blast,” Courtney McGuffee, a member of the debate team and a sophomore speech major, said.

The team will be able to take a break from debating while playing host to other teams from other southern states.

“This is a tournament wherein we do not compete ourselves, but host other programs,” Gibson said.

The tournament’s name is derived from the event’s main sponsor. 

McIlhenny’s Tabasco is a big supporter,” Gibson said. “They make private labels and provide huge bottles of Tabasco sauce to give out for awards.”

This year’s event is special, Gibson said, because the team plans to honor several individuals.

“One person we will be honoring [is Tech President] Dr. Dan Reneau for his wonderful support for the team,” Gibson said.

The tournament is scheduled to take place in Tolliver Hall. The debate team welcomes Tech students to help with judging.

For more information about times and events, contact Gibson at

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