Four Central Wyoming College students who qualified for the Universities Debating Championship in Anchorage, Alaska returned April 14.
Harley Gonzales, Matt Amos, Daniela Palma-Ramos, and Jim Lupher represented CWC against some of the best competition from across the country and the world. About 172 teams attended the event; all attendees gave eight debates before the elimination round which only about 30 teams made it to.
“They represented the school really well,” forensics coach Josh House said. “It was quite the debating experience as our team had never before attended a tournament alongside elite debate teams from all over the country as well as Canadian teams and teams from several countries in Africa.”
Some of the competitors were also graduate students and practicing lawyers.
Before each round which takes about an hour, competitors have 15 minutes to prepare, receive a topic and each of the eight speakers has seven minutes to give their speech. In each debate there is an opposing side and a contending side; each has a two sets of two teams that represent the college they are from.
Gonzales and Amos placed second out of four teams in almost half of their preliminary rounds. Palma-Ramos and Lupher compiled three third place finishes to go along with a first place round at the midway point of the tournament.
Althought the team did not make it to the elimination round they were able to watch the final round between Harvard, Yale, Brown and Morehouse on the final day of competition, with Yale taking home the title of national champions.
“It is a round we will remember for years to come and one which will surely serve as a model for our students as they move forward with their debating careers,” House said.
The team was not the only ones to participate in the event, coaches also had to judge during the event. Both House and assistant coach Holly Henderix, ranked in judging; starting the event as assistant judges and finishing as lead judges.
“It was the experience of a lifetime for all involved, and we couldn’t be prouder to have done it all in the name of showing the world what Central Wyoming College can do,” House said.