Talking Tiger debaters from Fort Hays State University finished in a tie at 17th place at the recent Henry Clay Debates at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The top-tier national competition was attended by 113 teams from across the country.
Tiger debaters, Avery Henry, Guymon, Okla., senior, and Chris Spurlock, Canon City, Colo., sophomore, finished with a 5-3 record in the preliminary rounds, defeating Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.; University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson; Michigan State University, East Lansing (twice); and University of California, Berkeley. They lost to Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., another MSU team and Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
After the preliminary debates, the team finished 28th seed and debated against Emory, one of the defending national debate champions from last year, in the elimination rounds and went into the double-octafinals and lost in a 2-1 decision.
"We believe we can beat them the next time around," said Dr. William Shanahan, assistant professor of communication studies and debate coach.
Henry was the 46th individual speaker out of 226 speakers, and Spurlock was the 56th speaker.
"As a team that typically wins ugly, placing this high in the individual speakers is also a strong showing," said Shanahan. "We are one of the top teams in the country right now, but will have to keep proving it." He said so far this season they have finished in the top 20 twice and the top 10 once.