At the Western Novice Championship, a national debate tournament in Sacramento, two San Diego State communications seniors, Kristen Everhart and Brittni King, won first place in the junior varsity novice division. SDSU’s policy debate team brought home more victories at the 2012 District One NDT Qualifier and Pacific Champion Debate Tournament, which took place from Feb. 24 through 26.
“They walked through it, which is unheard of,” SDSU debate team head coach and Director of Forensics Sharon Taylor said.
Everhart and King have only been debating for four months, according to Taylor. The novice JV tournament had 24 teams. Out of the six preliminary rounds, Everhart and King won five.
“These two women deserve a tremendous amount of credit,” Taylor said.
The girls finished in first place and received the first-annual Terry Weinbrenner Championship Cup.
Everhart and King are in the policy branch of SDSU’s debate program. In its entirety, the program consists of the policy and parliamentary wings. Another set in the policy branch are Jayde Clark and Andrew Won, who took home eighth place.
According to graduate teaching assistant and coach for the parliamentary wing, Matthew Swanson, the parliamentary branch of debate is relatively new. Parliamentary, which focuses on multiple topics throughout the year, had its first national appearance in 2001. According to Swanson, policy is more concerned with the depth of knowledge focusing on one topic. “Debate at SDSU used to only be one (branch), and now there are two and both sides are healthy,” Taylor said. “Those are all the wings you can have in debate and there are very few universities that have that type of full-breadth program.”
According to Taylor, the debate program at SDSU is making a comeback. Policy debate was dropped by SDSU in 2003 and returned last spring.
SDSU debate, even with its temporal disappearance, still holds a prestigious record, Taylor said. The university holds the record of consecutively qualifying a debater for the National Debate Tournament. According to Taylor, the year-after-year reign started in the 1950s and ended in the 1970s.
The two policy teams traveled to another national tournament in Oklahoma the first weekend of spring break.
“We’re just coming back in this national prominence and we’re doing it in a big way with an exclamation point,” Taylor said.