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The University of Wyoming debate team has performed well this season at its first three competitions at Georgia State University, Weber State University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV).
Seniors Hunter McFarland and Mary Marcum recently made their way to the elite eight of the Las Vegas Classic Invitational. In preliminary debates, McFarland, from Twin Falls, Idaho, and Marcum, from Omaha, Neb., captured the fourth overall seed. Marcum also was honored as the tournament’s number 11 overall speaker.
The duo defeated all but one of the seven teams they faced in preliminary debates, six of which had winning records. They also beat a team from the University of Texas three times, advancing through the tournament.
McFarland and Marcum’s performance in Las Vegas was built upon their strong start to the season weeks earlier at the Georgia State University tournament in Atlanta, finishing 36th out of 120 teams from around the country. The duo assembled victories against some of the country’s most prestigious institutions, including Northwestern University, Emory University, Wake Forest and Michigan State.
“The two seniors narrowly missed the cutoff for elimination rounds. With only two tournaments under their belts, it is clear that Marcum and McFarland are poised to have a huge season,” says UW debate Coach Travis Cram, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism.
Carter Henman, a junior from Cheyenne, and Bria Frame, a senior from Kalispell, Mont., also started the season strong in Atlanta, earning four wins at the tournament. The duo had three consecutive victories in their final debates against Cornell, Liberty University and Wake Forest.
“The workload leading up to the Atlanta trip was daunting, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect,” Henman says. “Our pre-tournament research ended up being useful and won us quite a few debates. I’m less worried about being surprised by something unexpected next time.”
Henman and Frame maintained steady performances at the season’s first three competitions and claimed victories over Gonzaga, Wichita State, UNLV, University of Texas-Dallas and San Francisco State.
In Atlanta, juniors Courtney Thomson-Lichty, from Casper, and Spencer Culver, from Kansas City, Mo., defeated three teams.
UW’s team has three more trips before finishing the fall 2015 semester, traveling to the Harvard Debate tournament in Cambridge, Mass.; the Joe C. Jackson invitational in Oklahoma City; and the Shirley Invitational at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In spring 2016, the team will attend four tournaments, plus championship tournaments; and UW will host two public debate events.
Assisting Cram is Zach Moss, a second-year graduate student in communication and journalism. They also are assisted by Mike Bausch, who received his M.A. degree in communication and journalism in 2012, and Risha Bhattacharjee, who attends medical school at the University of Minnesota.