Debate team competes in exclusive America’s Cup tournament

Apr 23, 2014 | General News




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Members of the Louisiana Tech University Debate Team earned a place as one of just 16 teams in the world to compete in the America’s Cup 2014 tournament, hosted earlier this month at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

The team of Hannah Schilling, a senior political science and journalism major from Bossier City, La., and Samuel Hathorn, a junior education major from Alexandria, La., competed on behalf of Louisiana Tech against teams from institutions such as the U.S. Air Force Academy, California Polytechnic Institute (Caltech), Loyola University and Stanford University.

“The intelligence and motivation of Louisiana Tech’s debate team is inspiring,” said Shane Puckett, instructor of speech and director of debate at Louisiana Tech.  “Tech’s team routinely competes against some of the best and brightest minds in education today, and they do well.  This has to be a testament to the team’s tenacity and hard work ethic. I’m proud to be their coach.”

The America’s Cup tournament was held in an international style of debate called, “Worlds.” In this style, a two person team receives a topic and position 15 minutes before the debate starts.  Although Louisiana Tech advanced to the quarterfinals, the team said being chosen as one of the elite 16 to compete in this tournament was most impressive.

Hathorn and Schilling, who were chosen to compete based on their debate achievements and judging experience, said they were honored to have been chosen to participate in the prestigious tournament.

“All of our hard work has led up to this,” Schilling said. “This proves that Louisiana Tech Debate is on the map and that people take us seriously as competitors.  Debating against some of the brightest minds in the debate community was a challenge that we learned a lot from.”

Earlier this year, Hathorn and Schilling teamed up at the 2014 Pan American Debate Championship held at the University of Miami (Fla.) and successfully debated Louisiana Tech into a spot as one of the top 16 debate programs in North and South America.  The Pan American Championship is a tournament held to honor debate in the Americas, bringing together the best debaters from North and South America to compete.

Being included in the America’s Cup competition provides Louisiana Tech with recognition and respect on the international debate stage.

“Louisiana Tech’s debate team has continued to gain honor after honor this year,” said team member Ben Markway, a senior accounting and concurrent MBA student from Deville, La. “I’m so proud of this team and it feels great to see our hard work pay off.”