Debate Team prepping for late March nationals

Mar 9, 2020 | Liberal Arts, Students

Louisiana Tech’s Debate Team is ranked 11th in the nation, and Tech’s Novice Squad is second nationally. Coached by School of Communication instructor Megan Smith, the team will work to improve on those lofty numbers in its three tournaments this month before nationals, to be held at the end of March at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.

Debate team

Debate team members are (back, from left) Timothy Winarski, Neel Patel, Steve Garcia, Charlie McBride, Kendrick Kruskie, (front, from left) Aria Giacona, Katie McKenzie, Kara Taylor, and Cody Kitchens. On the team but not pictured, are Skylar Dean, Leah Hanna, and Tristen Stroud.

The team recently competed in the state tournament and has competed in multiple tournaments during the first part of the season. Here are some results from those competitions.

The state tournament was held at Mississippi State. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana combine to hold the state tournament together. It’s called Southern Forensics and Tech hosted last year.

Tech finished third overall in Louisiana.

Kara Taylor, communication major, was first place speaker for Louisiana in the Novice Debate.

Katie McKenzie, a biomedical engineering major, was first place for Louisiana in Impromptu Speaking, and a double-octofinalist in Varsity Debate.

Political science major Skylar Dean placed second for Louisiana in Persuasive Speaking, which qualified her for the Interstate Oratorical Society National Championship. She was also an octofinalist in Novice Debate.

Kendrick Kruskie, also a political science major, was also an octofinalist in Novice Debate.

The other students who competed were computer science major Neel Patel, graphic design major Tristan Stroud, political science major Cody Kitchens, computer science major Charlie McBride, and theater major Aria Giacona.

Dean won the Easy Texas Baptist University Tournament in Novice Debate, and Leah Hanna, a political science major, was a Varsity Debate finalist at Louisiana State University Shreveport Tournament where Kendrick Kruskie, Cody Kitchens, Taylor, and Dean also made it to the elimination rounds.

McKenzie and political science major Steve Garcia were quarterfinalist in Team Debate at the University of Southern Mississippi Tournament. Giacona made it to finals in Persuasive Speaking at that tournament.

At the Louisiana State University tournament, Dean took first place in Persuasive Speaking and Giacona was fifth in Persuasive Speaking, sixth in Extemporaneous Speaking, and third in Dramatic Interpretation.

At the Bossier Parish Community College competition, Timothy Winiarski and Kitchens were octofinalists in Junior Varsity Debate, and Kruskie was an octofinalist in Novice Debate.

For more information on Tech’s Debate Team, contact Smith at 318.257.3196 or