Utah State University’s Speech and Debate Team opened the 2009-10 competitive season at an early October non-conference tournament at the University of Wyoming. After competing against 17 colleges and universities, the team returned Oct. 5 with a third place overall finish.The team is led by volunteer coach Tom Worthen and is based in USU’s Department of Languages, Philosophy and Speech Communication in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.The team’s coach was pleased with the team’s performance.”Of the 10 team members who attended the tournament, eight are new to the USU team and half of those are new to debate,” Worthen said. “This was an important tournament and USU’s students placed well in the senior speech division. The competition was tough because many universities at the tournament are known national powerhouses and are ranked nationally in debate.” Individually, Mike Smith took first place in Lincoln-Douglas policy debate, going undefeated for the tournament, beating the Air Force Academy in the final round.From a pool of 34 teams, the debate team of Bryce Draper and Katelyn Wallace took third place, losing to Texas Tech in the semi-final round. The team of Justin Jerez and Andy Bouwman tied for fifth place, losing to Louisiana Tech. Jerez was also recognized as the seventh best debater at the tournament.Justin Hinh and Peter Daines also took fifth place in debate, losing to Colorado University-Boulder. In individual speech events, Bryce Draper placed second in persuasive speaking and second in after dinner speaking. Andy Bouwman took first in persuasive speaking and fifth in informative speaking. John Kimball placed third in informative speaking and fourth in impromptu speaking. Peter Daines placed sixth in informative speaking and Jeff Denison placed fourth in dramatic interpretation. The USU team travels to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., Oct. 10-11 to compete in its first conference tournament. As the five-time defending Northwest Forensic Conference champions, the team hopes to place high at the tournament, Worthen said.For information about USU’s debate team, contact Worthen at 435-994-0023, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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