The Missouri Western Debate Team attended the 2015 Golden Gate Invitational tournament, held at UC Berkeley on Oct.3-4. Chris Miles and Michael Smith placed in the top eight in quarter finals at the tournament, making this one step closer to nationals.
Other schools that competed alongside Missouri Western were Washburn University, Southern Illinois University, California State University-Long Beach and William Jewell College, just to name a few.
This year, Jason Edgar is the new coach for the debate team. Edgar is a Missouri native; he attended Missouri Southern and then went on to University of Arkansas for grad school, and has been coaching college speech and debate for 10 years.
Being a Missouri native, Edgar saw a job opening opportunity at Missouri Western and took it, and liked that his new job was home-based. To be a top-20 program in the country, and to have Chris Miles and Michael Smith be top 20 nationally for an individual team, are some goals Edgar wants to meet this season.
From the differences of coaching this season, Smith made it a point to say that the techniques were different.
“Trying to direct us on where we should be going and us filling in and doing our own thing there,” Smith said.
Clarity and clash is the strategy for this season to reach the top 20 goal.
“For our affirmative teams to be clear and confident, not apprehensive, and for our negative teams to clash with the other opponents in a good way,” Edgar said.
Strong national competition was expected at a meet like UC Berkeley. Every team entered was a two-person team and got between five and eight rounds. A judge either gave the team a win or a loss, then, if the team held a winning record, they advanced to elimination rounds.
The tournament on Saturday consisted of eight rounds, then went into a bracket with eight to ten teams with single elimination. The win would go towards the team’s resume for qualifying for nationals.
Two teams were taken to the meet over the weekend, counting four people total. Jason Edgar felt that Miles and Smith are considered the Missouri Western Debate representatives.
“I think this year will be similar or better to the results we had last year,” Miles said. “Last year we did very well, especially first semester, in terms of having a coach.”