Published Wednesday Dec 19, 2018
Tennessee Tech’s speech and debate team wrapped up the semester the weekend of Nov. 30 and came home with a vanload of awards, along with a record number of awards to wrap up the semester.
The team finished the semester with a competition held at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, racking up with 37 individual awards and a first place overall sweepstakes team award.
“We saw numerous people gain part of the qualifications they need to travel to a national tournament and one student, Tyler Johnson, is now fully qualified to compete in that national tournament in extemporaneous speaking because of his efforts at this tournament,” said Jacob Metz, instructor of communication studies and assistant speech and debate coach.
Among the individual winners are Derrick Sarmiento, first place in varsity international public debate association (IPDA) debate and first place in impromptu speaking; Amanda Smith, first place in program of oral interpretation; Sistina Hammonds, second place in novice IPDA debate; Abby Norsworthy, second place in after dinner speaking; and Johnson with second place in extemporaneous speaking and third place in persuasive speaking.
Johnson also placed fifth in pentathlon, excellence across multiple events.
The team ended the semester with 151 individual awards, 15 team awards and first place individual awards and two first place team awards.
Last year, the team claimed 15 first place awards with a total of 117 individual honors. Team member Madison Davis claimed the national title and will defend it next year.
“This is the best year for awards in the eight years I’ve been here,” Metz said.
It was a good semester of newsworthy topics as well.
“Probably the most notable ones were on racial and gender issues and domestic violence,” he said.
This past fall was also the first time the team hosted a tournament on home turf.
“It was a very successful first tournament,” he said. “We had 15 teams from Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia. We’re looking forward to hosting it again next year.”
The team consists of students of different majors, from psychology, political science, engineering, computer science, and communications.
“The speaking skills and critical thinking skills they develop from being on this team is essential in every field,” Metz said. “Being on a speech and debate team makes you more aware of current events and creates informed citizens.”
The team will get a little bit of a break after the holidays with the first tournament set for early February in Murray, Kentucky.