TTU's speech and debate team win honors

Tennessee Tech University’s speech and debate team brought home 10 awards from a recent tournament at a Kentucky university, and its parliamentary debaters finished their season in the competition’s semifinals.

The parliamentary debaters — Jeff Henry and Erick Veliz — earned fifth place rankings as speaker and in extemporaneous speaking respectively, and other team members — Ryan Palombo, Nicole Yarbrough and Ashley Warrington — participated in individual events at Transylvania University’s WYRD Speech and Debate Tournament.

“For their first semester as debaters, Henry and Veliz were exceptional,” said Mike Sams, a former debater who served as a judge for the competition.

Henry, a senior mechanical engineering major, and Veliz, a senior journalism and political science major, both began competing in parliamentary debate in October at the Western Kentucky University invitational, where they qualified for novice quarterfinals.

They earned a 4-0 record in preliminary rounds at Owensboro Community College’s tournament and faced Berea in the quarterfinals.

Parliamentary debate consists of two opposing teams composed of two speakers each. The teams are given a proposition, topics of which include current events or philosophical arguments, and they are assigned to either support or oppose it.

Clint Jones, director of the speech and debate program at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., said, “Henry and Veliz are strong competitors and among the top debaters we’ve competed against.”

Coaches for TTU’s speech and debate team are Graham Kash, Anne Canavan and Chris Blankenship, all of the university’s English-communications department.