Texas Tech Debate Shines in February Tournaments

One team stands as No. 11 in the nation.

Texas Tech debaters were rewarded for a year of hard work and competitive success with three invitations to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, a national tournament open only to the top 56 teams in the nation.

The NPTE will be held March 17-18, at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.

Texas Tech University is one of only seven schools in the nation to receive three or more bids to the competition, and Texas Tech is one of only five schools with two teams ranked in the top 30, said Joe Gantt, director of forensics.

"I’m extremely proud of these six competitors and their accomplishments to date," Gantt said. "This is, without a doubt, the strongest set of teams Texas Tech has ever taken to the NPTE. If we debate to our potential, we can accomplish some great things at nationals."

Kristen Owen, a junior political science and communication studies major from Houston, and Anthony Putnicki, a junior philosophy major from El Paso, lead the Texas Tech University contingent. Owen and Putnicki finished in fifth place or better at five tournaments this year and in each of their last four competitions, including a second-place finish at the prestigious United States Air Force Academy tournament held Feb. 10-12.

Due to these outstanding finishes, Owen and Putnicki rank No. 11 in the nation going into the NPTE.

Also achieving a high ranking and an NPTE invitation is the team of Jacob Parks a senior English major from Midland, and Tim West a senior political science and communication studies major from Amarillo. Parks and West won two tournaments this year, including the Texas state title. Their impressive resume ranks them No. 26th nationally heading into the NPTE.

Finally, the team of Mike Mitchell, a junior mass communication major from Lamesa, and Vamsi Vemuru, a senior political science major from Odessa, also earned a bid to the NPTE. They will enter the NPTE ranked No. 56 in the nation.

One week following the NPTE, these three teams along with four other Texas Tech teams will compete in the National Parliamentary Debate Association's Championship Tournament, which is open to all teams across the nation regardless of past accomplishment.

The NPDA championship will be held March 23-26 at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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