Texas Tech Debaters Regain Top Ranking, Set Record With One of Best Regular Seasons On Record

Owen and Putnicki continue to dominate world of debate.

According to new rankings, Texas Tech senior debaters Kristen Owen and Anthony Putnicki may be not only the elite team of this season, but also the best of all-time.

The National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence rankings, available at http://npte.debateaddict.com, recognized Owen of Houston and Putnicki of El Paso as the top-ranked team in the nation, as they have won four tournaments during the course of the season and have finished in third place in two other tournaments.

Furthermore, Owen and Putnicki have had arguably the best regular season ever in the history of the activity. They can claim this accomplishment based upon having the highest number of points earned in any season, breaking the record set by the University of Puget Sound in 2006.

"Kristen and Anthony are having a season that should make every person with a connection to Texas Tech very proud," said Joe Gantt, head coach and director of forensics. "The rankings indicate that they are the best team ever, and I can certainly say that over my fourteen years in this activity, I’ve certainly never seen anyone better."

The duo have compiled a stunning 58-6 record, including a 26-2 record in elimination rounds in six tournaments. The first-place ranking entitles them to a bid in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, an elite national championship open only to the top 54 teams in the nation.

The NPTE rankings were updated after Owen and Putnicki’s recent successes at the Mile High Swing, held January 10-12 at Denver University in Colorado. The Mile High Swing consists of two complete tournaments held over a weekend, and it attracted one of the most impressive fields of debaters ever assembled. Debaters in 96 teams from schools such as the University of Oregon, University of Oklahoma and University of Washington attended the tournaments.

Owen and Putnicki won the first tournament unanimously, winning 12 debates without a loss. In the second tournament, Owen and Putnicki also had a strong showing before falling in the semifinal round to a team from Western Kentucky University.

Other Texas Tech debaters also had strong showings at the Mile High Swing. Juniors Jeremy Henderson of Portland, Ore., and Mike Mitchell of Lamesa were among the top thirty teams at both tournaments.

Nicole Brown and Brian Horton, both of San Angelo, and Taylor Reeves of Pampa and freshman Laura Rau of Richardson all advanced to elimination rounds.

Based upon their seasons to date, the teams of Henderson/Mitchell and Horton/Reeves also are ranked among the top fifty teams in the nation.

The Texas Tech debate team now moves into its last three tournaments before beginning preparations for nationals. In the next three weeks, the team will travel to San Diego, Calif., San Antonio and Colorado Springs, Colo.

CONTACT: Joseph J. Gantt, director of forensics, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1328, joe.gantt@ttu.edu.