Trinity debate team eyes Nationals

The competition of debate has hooked many people over the years, and the Trinity University debate team is no different. Debate is now in full swing, and the team is full of people passionate about debate who are working hard for upcoming competitions.

People are drawn to what they do for many different reasons, and the team members all have different incentives as to why they became debaters.

“I joined the debate team in high school because I really enjoyed talking, but quickly found it was so much more than just arguing with people. Since I joined, I have been enthralled with the activity because it is so intellectually stimulating,” said sophomore Maggie Solice.

Junior Nathan Rothenbaum does not have a memorable story about why he joined debate, but he knows what has kept him there.

“Tearing apart people’s arguments is my favorite part of debate,” Rothenbaum said. “When someone is super cocky about being right about something and you just rip it to shreds, it is great. I savor the taste of those tears.”

At the helm of the Trinity debate team is Sarah Topp, assistant professor of human communication and theatre, who began coaching debate to pay for graduate school. She also wanted to give back to the culture she experienced as a debater.

“I started debating in junior high. I almost quit the first week because I thought it was too nerdy and wasn’t sure it was for me. After the first tournament, though, I was hooked. I loved the competition. I loved verbally sparring with others. I loved proving I was smart. I continued debating through high school and even received a scholarship to debate in college,” Topp said.

Trinity recently competed in tournaments at University of Texas at Dallas and University of North Texas, where they were extremely successful. Solice and Rothenbaum finished in second place at the North Texas tournament, where they fell in the finals on a 2-1 decision to the University of Houston. Rothenbaum described the tournaments and how the team fared in them.

“There is a pair of tournaments held in Dallas and Denton at UTD and UNT, respectively,” Rothenbaum said. “It is called the “˜Texas Two Step.’ In both tournaments, we went 6-1 in prelims, and were seeded third in the second half and fourth in the first. We lost at the UTD tournament, the first half, in octos, but at the UNT tournament, the second half, we got to finals before losing on a 2-1 decision to the University of Houston. Maggie was the eighth-best speaker at the UTD tournament, and I was fourth at UTD and the second-best speaker at UNT.”

The team has two more tournaments coming up with the possibility of Nationals. First, they will compete in the University of Texas tournament Feb. 8-10. Then the District qualifiers, if they do well enough, will qualify them for Nationals at Indiana University.

The Trinity debate team hopes to carry on their momentum into those tournaments and continue their strong performances.