Louisiana Tech Debate Team wins tournament championship

Mar 19, 2014 | General News






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The Louisiana Tech University Debate Team kicked off the spring quarter last week by bringing a championship back to Ruston.

Demonstrating their mastery of logic and their rhetorical strengths throughout the tournament, Louisiana Tech bested such schools such as University of Michigan, Marquette University and Purdue University to win the Crossroads of the World Debate Tournament held March 15-17 on the campus of Purdue University.

“I’m very proud of the work and spirit of these debaters,” said Shane Puckett, instructor of speech communications and director of debate.  “Their enthusiasm for the activity, thirst for knowledge, and camaraderie on the squad is what makes this team a success.”

Having placed second in last year’s competition, many on the team were thrilled with this year’s win.  Hannah Schilling, a senior political science and journalism major from Bossier City, La., and her partner Sam Hathorn, a junior education major from Alexandria, La., brought home the championship with stellar performances throughout the tournament.  Ben Markway, a senior accounting major from Deville, La., and his partner John Keeter, a junior finance major from Southlake, Texas, were also finalists in this year’s tournament.

“From round one to finals, we stayed confident because of everything we have learned from each other,” said Schilling.  “We couldn’t have brought home this incredible title without the work we put in this year.  I’m so proud of everyone for what we’ve accomplished.”

In addition to bringing home the tournament championship, other members of the Louisiana Tech Debate Team brought home top individual awards.  Markway was awarded the top speaker of the tournament and Keeter received a fourth place speaker award.

“Our debate team continues to grow stronger each year,” said Markway.  “I’m so proud of the team effort that Louisiana Tech displayed at the Crossroads of the World Debate Tournament.”

The tournament was held in an international style of debate called “Worlds.” Louisiana Tech’s debate team has only been competing in this style and on this circuit for three years. In this style, a two person team receives a topic and position 15 minutes before the debate starts.  The topics at this tournament ranged from the concepts of personal autonomy to the European recession.

The team’s next tournament is the United States University’s Debate Championship (USU) being held on April 11-13.  While the name implies that only U.S. universities will be competing, over 200 teams from universities all over the world will be in attendance.  This is typically the largest tournament in the Western Hemisphere.

If you would like any further information concerning the Louisiana Tech Debate Team, please contact Shane Puckett, Director of Debate, at
Written by Shane Puckett –