The debate team had anything but a head start, but still managed to walk away with a third-place ranking from its most recent competition.
Due to a technical difficulty, Ani McPherson and Greg Lucero, the two UVSC students who traveled to the Oct. 11-13 debate tourney in Casper, Wyo., received their topic 20 minutes before their debate.
Teams from the other 13 schools competing in the tourney received their topic two weeks in advance.
Debate coach Jason Zeller said the topic was supposed to have been attached to an e-mail he received from the tourney two weeks earlier, but when he opened the e-mail, the topic was not there.
Still, Zeller said the team was pleased with its performance, especially considering the disadvantage.
"We did really well," he said of the team’s third-place finish in the tourney’s junior division. "Just think if we’d been prepared as well for these debates … Two weeks versus 20 minutes — there’s a little bit of a difference there."
Debate teams are traditionally given their topics 20 minutes before they compete. Zeller said that while giving the competitors the topic in advance is becoming more commonplace, it is still a "brand-new thing."
McPherson finished the tourney ranked eighth overall. She was fifth in dramatic interpretation and program oral interpretation, and seventh overall in after-dinner speaking.
The team finished eighth overall in the tourney.
Zeller said students can still join the debate team by contacting him at (307) 272-9048 or firstname.lastname@example.org