Debate team starts strong, ‘disappointed’ with finish
Towson University’s debate team ended their first tournament with two members earning top-10 spots, but an overall loss at the Henry Clay National Debate Tournament.
Officials ranked Ignacio Evans ninth and Ben Morgan sixth out of 300 speakers who attended the tournament, putting them in the top two percentile of the tournament.
Director of Debate Jillian Marty said the results were surprising.
“I think they think they did excellent,” Marty said. “They did well beyond what I expected them to do. This tournament shows the world that they’ve been working hard and have been recognized. The speaker awards should be an indication that they should have gone further in the tournaments.”
Evans and Morgan, named team Towson EM, kept the success going by getting through the eight preliminary debates, defeating the University of Oklahoma, Dartmouth College and West Georgia University on their way to winning six out of the eight first-round debates and earning the 7th seed in the tournament. In the first match, they faced Missouri State University and lost 3-0 after the judges took 30 minutes to make their decision.
The other TU team to crack the primaries and reach elimination rounds included first-year members Ameena Ruffin and Kevin Whitley, known as Towson RW. Having four wins and three losses, they faced the top-ranked California State University Fullerton team. Towson RW lost the preliminary debate and couldn’t enter regular eliminations, but still earned the right to participate in the first round tournament. They were able to win their first round by defeating Dartmouth College in a two to one decision, but lost in the second match to West Georgia University 3-0.
Morgan said the teams will use these experiences as launching pads.
“It’s a pretty exciting experience,” he said. “We worked real hard for that tournament, so it felt fulfilling to get some fruits of our labor. It was disappointing about the doubles loss, but we had a pretty good show.”
Morgan said they will have to keep up intensity because the tournaments are like a marathon. Marty said this year’s teams have even more potential than in previous years.
“I think we have to go further than last year. In the next couple tournaments, Iggy and Ben will explode in terms of getting through more rounds and elimination matches. Success [from the past and present] are trickling down to our other teams,” Morgan said.