MWSU Debate Duo place 11th in preliminary tournament

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Juniors Michael Smith and Chris Miles topped off their winter break with a 4-1 record, placing them at 11th overall in the preliminary tournament at the University of Utah, January 8-10.

Placing 11th out of 96 teams, Smith and Miles were pleased with their overall performance at the tournament and maintained their 18th national rank.

Western’s Director of Speech and Debate, Jason Edger, was extremely excited about the team’s performance at the Utah tournament.

“Utah’s winter break tournament is the biggest parliamentary debate tournament outside of Nationals. Chris and Mike placing 11th really solidifies them as a national force to be reckoned with,” Edger said.

Smith was pleased with the overall experience and appreciated getting to know teams they will compete against once more in March.

“It was a lot of good competition, because all the teams that were doing well alongside us are the teams that we are going to be competing with inside the later rounds at Nationals. It is all the teams that are going to be our competition for our chances to win a national title. It was a lot of good exposure to the kind of arguments that they like reading about and how they go about the debates,” Smith said.

After several years of friendship, Miles feels that he and Smith have become a dynamic team.

“I think Mike and I are different in a couple ways; the first way is we have known each other for years. We have known each other since the sixth grade,” Miles said. “So, having known each other for that long, we are almost telepathically on the same page about things, whereas most partners might have to discuss things because their partnerships are changing all the time.”

He also believes the extra experience they have gained has given them more insight than other debaters.

“Also, I think we’ve debated long enough from having high school experience, which not all college debaters have. A lot of the work we do, both inside and outside of our debate rounds, is just intuitive, whereas a lot of people really have to try and concentrate before they can reach the point of reacting on instinct.”

Smith and Miles are expected to compete again at the “Winter at the Beach” forensic tournament at California State University in Long Beach, February 5-7, and return again to Long Beach for the National Parliamentary Debate Tournament March 18-21.