HAYS, KS -- Fort Hays State University's debate team has exploded into the spring semester with trips west and south, visiting the University of Southern California, California State University-Fullerton and the State University of West Georgia.
At the University of Southern California, 57 teams gave debaters Joe Ramsey, Sterling senior, and Jason Regnier, Salina senior, 1024 Gypsum Ave., a strong tournament, said Dr. Bill Shanahan, debate coach.
Ramsey and Regnier defeated octafinalists Berkeley and Texas and lost to Northwestern, one of the top three teams in the country, said Shanahan. FHSU made it to the quarterfinal elimination round and tied for third.
Paul Mabrey, Manhattan junior, Regnier and Ramsey were ranked among the top 20 out of 114 speakers at the tournament. Mabrey and Brent Saindon, Wichita senior, 13214 Castlewood Road, also got off to a strong start by defeating Whitman College.
Debate tournaments have a sequence all their own, said Shanahan. Teams begin by competing in eight preliminary rounds. The teams remaining are ranked after those rounds. Then, elimination rounds leave eight qualified teams to participate in the octafinals, from which four teams go to the quarterfinals. After semifinals the top two teams compete for the championship.
California State University-Fullerton was also a strong tournament for FHSU, which topped its showing of eighth place at this tournament last year with fifth place among the 61 teams this year.
The State University of West Georgia "is the most difficult invitational tournament of the year, bringing together all but two of the top teams in the country," said Shanahan.
West Georgia only clears 16 teams into the elimination rounds. Regnier and Ramsey endured a fiercely competitive tournament but defeated some of the top teams, including Northwestern, "a team we have battled extensively this year," said Shanahan, and Dartmouth.