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Debate, speech teams place among top programs in nation

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
April 16, 2010

Texas State University-San Marcos speech and debate competitors advanced to the quarterfinals at the U.S. Universities Debate Championships April 9-11, besting top talent from colleges and universities nationwide.

Held on the University of Denver campus, Luiz Baez, junior, political science and Laura Driver, junior, geography, were the first-ever competitors from Texas State to advance to elimination rounds in British Parliamentary-style debate. Wayne Kraemer, lecturer and director of the LBJ Debate Society and the Elton Abernathy Forensics Society at Texas State, said their showing at the event was emblematic of the efforts of a program that is consistently invited to international and national competitions and is a perennial favorite on the state level.

"Traditionally we're one of the strongest programs in the state," Kraemer said. "The students we get work really hard to succeed and get excellent support from faculty and the university. We've been doing this since 1903, so I think we've got things figured out."

Also representing Texas State at the competition, but did not advance to the elimination rounds were Ryan Herrera, junior, political science and Shanna Schultz, junior, political science.

Moreover, the Elton Abernathy Forensics Society, Texas State's competitive speech team, placed 21st in the nation at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament, held April 1-4 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Junior communication studies major, Jaysin Spradley, placed sixth nationally in dramatic interpretation. Brandon McCasland, junior communication studies, advanced to the national semi-finals in dramatic interpretation. Justin Blacklock, senior, communication studies, advanced to the semi-finals in poetry.

"I am incredibly proud of our students and their efforts throughout the year as well as the national tournament," Kraemer said.

Team coaches include Jeremy Hutchins, lecturer, communication studies, Jonathon Stansbury and Zamzam Jama.