The University of Texas at Tyler debate team continues to remain the top team in national rankings after winning their final tournament for the fall 2011 semester, Dr. Martin Slann, College of Arts and Sciences dean, announced.
Senior economics major Alex Warren of Tyler and senior communications and political science double major Travis Smith of Palestine placed first in the three-day tournament at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., where they beat teams from schools including McKendree University, Texas Tech University, Pepperdine University, University of Oklahoma, Whitman College and Loyola University.
This is Warren and Smith’s third final round appearance and top finish.
“Alex and Travis make up one of the top teams in the country, and their success proves it,” said Dr. Charles Walts, UT Tyler director of forensics.
The team’s ranking is determined by a points system that currently ranks more than 300 teams in the country competing in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.
“Because there are no conferences or divisions in debate, we have to be ready to debate anyone. It can be a massive undertaking to gather intelligence and prepare for 300 different teams,” Walts added.
The UT Tyler team will begin its spring campaign in early January when they travel to Salt Lake City, Utah and Bellingham, Wash. for two of the largest tournaments of the year.
“We are seniors this year, so there are no second chances. For us, this is it. It’s time to go big, or go home,” said Smith.
The university’s debate program competes in both NPTE and the National Parliamentary Debate Association.