Debate team looks for tough competition

The TCU debate team is looking to grow after its first year of competition.

This past year, the four-member team competed in three tournaments, Carrie Moore, director of the debate program, said. However, the team looked to compete against tougher opponents in the future and eventually go to the National Debate Tournament.

“There are a couple of tournaments that we are examining where we would debate Ivy League schools,” Moore said.

Tougher competitions would help to raise the profile of the debate team, she said. The raised profile would attract more students for the team.

To prepare for the future, the team would hold two recruiting sessions in April for next year’s group, she said. The sessions would include debates with current team members. 

Moore said she was hoping to extend the experience of debating to more students in the future.

“I think debate really widens your horizons,” senior mathematics major Jason Lam said. “It gets you outside your box.”

Moore said the debates made students think fast. Students had 15 minutes to review the topic before each debate.

The debates were all improvised, freshman political science and communication studies double major Jaclyn Cravello said.

The topics mostly came from current events, senior communication studies major Elyse Menger said. However, they came from other areas as well, such as moral issues.

“You could also talk about a zombie apocalypse,” Cravello said.

There were no limits to the topics because debaters have to be able argue any subject, Cravello said.

Moore said students have to be informed and know current events to be effective debaters in this style of competition. She said she saw those qualities in current team members.

“They are incredibly intelligent, and they get it,” she said.

The team exceeded her expectations and performed well in the first year of competition, Moore said.

Cravello said she and Menger advanced to the quarterfinals in their first competition in November 2011.

The result was great for the first tournament of the TCU debate team, Lam said.

The Texas Two-Step Debate Tournament named Lam Top Speaker in February.

Moore said these results were “fantastic” and “surprising” because the team did not conduct any recruiting last year. All four of the current team members volunteered to be on the team, she said.

The debates were tough, especially for a new team, but they help students, Moore said.

Students who competed on debate teams succeeded more academically, she said, referencing a study from Contemporary Argumentation and Debate: The Journal of the Cross Examination Debate Association.

Cravello said it helped her become more aware of current events and what was happening in the world.

Cravello said she is excited to start recruiting because she would need a new partner when Menger, her current partner, graduates in May.

Moore said she hopes to hold a showcase during Honors Week and expects to have a thriving and growing program in the future.