UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler Debate Team at the Top

October 19, 2011

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler debate team is ranked top in the nation after strong finishes in the tournament at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., Dr. Martin Slann, College of Arts and Sciences dean, announced.

Senior economics major Alex Warren of Tyler and senior communications major Travis Smith of Palestine placed first in the three-day tournament, which is considered the bellwether meet for potential national champions in collegiate debate, according Dr. Charles Walts, UT Tyler director of forensics.

“This is a big series of wins for us. Historically, the winner of the McKendree tournament goes on to good showings at nationals in the spring,” Walts said.

The first place finish also positions Warren and Smith at the top of the national ranking system, trumping teams from schools including Texas Tech University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Oregon and the United States Air Force Academy.

“It feels great to be at the top of a ranking system that has more than 200 teams on it,” said Warren, who placed in the top three for overall best speaker.

The ranking system determines who qualifies for the national tournament, Walts added.

In the junior varsity division, sophomore English major Addison Gribbin of Ennis and freshman communications major Dallas Flick of Aubrey placed in the top two teams, marking the second consecutive tournament the UT Tyler duo reached the finals.

UT Tyler will travel to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. to compete in an exclusive, invite-only tournament featuring the top ten debate teams in the country.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.                          

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 Last Published 10/18/11