Emporia State Debate took two teams to separate national competitions where debaters placed in top national positions.
“The National Debate Tournament is an invitation only tournament with only 78 spots, and we qualified,” said Chris Loghry, junior communications major. “The road to nationals starts in September when the official season begins, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a spot.”
The 2010 NDT was held in Berkeley, Calif., where veteran debaters Loghry and his debate partner Kurt Fifelski, senior political science major, took 39th place.
“We come from what is probably one of the most competitive debate districts, District 3, which is roughly equivalent to the Big 12 of debate,” Loghry said. “22 of the 78 teams at the NDT were from our district.”
The other team to qualify for a national tournament was Ryan Wash, sophomore communications major, and LaToya Williams-Green, junior communications major. The pair qualified for the Cross Examination Debate Association Tournament which was an open national debate tournament with 207 teams from roughly 70 schools. This tournament was also in Berkeley. The pair placed 74th.
“The tournament may not have gone exactly as we planned, but it didn’t matter, because in that atmosphere I was so honored to be one of the top 156 debaters in the country,” Wash said. “Some of the people we debated against and lost to previously didn’t even make it to that level of competition.”
The debate team started off the season with a string of wins that helped seize their positions in the national tournaments.
“We locked up our NDT bid in the Texas Swing, which is two back to back debate tournaments in Texas over winter break,” Loghry said. “No matter what happened at the district tournament level we were going to go to nationals.”
Wash reminisced about the moment that he realized he was going to nationals.
“We didn’t actually have that many rounds, but the rounds we did have were high quality,” Wash said. “There was a lot of quiet tension the Thursday the results were coming out for nationals. I got a text from Kurt saying ‘Congratulations, you’re going to nationals.’”
James Taylor, assistant debate coach, experienced a strong sense of satisfaction from seeing ESU Debate teams represented at the national level.
“The recognition of being invited to a tournament of the top 78 teams in the nation is great,” Taylor said. “It’s been a number of years since we qualified two teams. As a coach, I was ecstatic.”
Taylor mentioned the satisfaction he received from witnessing his younger debaters go to a national tournament.
“They’ve worked really hard all year,” Taylor said. “For (Wash and Williams-Green) it will be viewed as a turning point in their debate career. To see the success and validation of their hard work made me very happy. To get those two national spots back was significant.”