By Dillan Straight
Reaching the midway can make or break a season for any team. Heavily weighted matchups against conference rivals combined with increased pressure makes the midway point, and beyond, an intense time of the year.
For the college’s Debate team, the story is no different.
New team coach Justin Stanley had a large void to fill this year in casting together a new squad of incoming freshman, as only two sophomores returned. While this task is far from simple at the junior college level, the Debate team keeps finding ways to win.
“Winning the novice division at Missouri State was an accomplishment,” Stanley said, “being as most of [the squad] was brand new to debate in general. They didn’t debate in high school so it was their first debate tournament ever.”
Stanley looks to the mentorship provided by returning member Patrick Solecki for playing a large part in the team’s development. Solecki was able to help coach the novice debaters in improving where they lacked and helping to better prepare for the tournaments ahead.
“We kind of pride ourselves in the depth of the squad,” Stanley said. “We have advanced two teams or more to elimination rounds of three tournaments or more. I’ve been really pleased with the team as a whole.”
Solecki welcomed the challenges of a completely reworked team with open arms.
“[The season] is going really great actually,” Solecki said. “We’ve broken multiple team rounds in several tournaments we’ve been to. It’s a good thing, particularly in a year where we’re rebuilding the squad. We had quite a large turnaround after last year and we really hit the ground running,”
Freshman Joseph Purcell found making the jump to college smoother than expected. Having come from a background in high school debate, Purcell brought forth a level of experience which Stanley appreciates in training and research.
Purcell plans to use winter break as a time to load up on his researching of each case.
“There has been a gigantic amount of research being done, just hundreds and hundreds of pages of articles that we’ve been going through,” Solecki said. “I feel extremely confident. I feel the next tournament that we expect to send someone to the finals if not win the whole thing.”
Purcell is also hopeful for the future beyond finals.
“We’re doing everything and more to make sure the next season is just as successful,” he said.
Contact Dillan Straight, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.