Texas Tech University Debate Team Places Fourth in the Nation

Debate team shines at National parliamentary Debate Association's Championship Tournament.

For the first time in school history, the Texas Tech University parliamentary debate squad finished among the top five schools in the nation, placing fourth at the National Parliamentary Debate Association’s Championship Tournament, held March 22-25 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
At this event, 240 teams from 81 colleges and universities competed. Out of those 240, Texas Tech had three of the top16 teams.
Joe Gantt, director of forensics, said he was proud of his team for making school history with its debate standing.
"I had high expectations going into this tournament," Gantt said. "We have worked hard all year, and that hard work came to fruition in Colorado Springs. I truly believe that we have a team that every member of the Texas Tech community can be proud of."
Texas Tech’s performance was led by the team of Kristen Owen, a junior communication studies/political science major from Houston, and Anthony Putnicki, a junior philosophy major from El Paso.
Owen and Putnicki compiled a 6-2 record in preliminary debates and then won five consecutive elimination round debates before finally falling in the semifinal round. They finished as the third-place team in the nation. Owen and Putnicki also were honored as two of the top twenty individual speakers at the tournament out of 480 total speakers.
Two other Texas Tech teams also turned in strong performances that allowed the university to claim its ranking. The team of Jacob Parks, a senior English major from Midland, and Tim West, a senior political science major from Amarillo, finished in a tie for ninth place with squadmates Mike Mitchell, a junior mass communications major from Lamesa, and Vamsi Vemuru, a senior political science major from Odessa.
Both teams compiled a 5-3 preliminary round record and won three elimination rounds each before being defeated. West was also honored as the 13th best speaker in the nation.
Texas Tech debaters placed fourth above teams from universities such as University of Notre Dame, Lewis & Clark College, Oregon State University, Purdue University, Rice University and the University of California-Berkeley.
The tournament concludes the season for the Texas Tech debaters, though the individual events competitors on the squad will travel to Mankato, Minn., April 5-10 for their national tournament.
CONTACT: Joseph J. Gantt, director of forensics, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-1328, joe.gantt@ttu.edu.