With a win at the University of Missouri-Kansas City last weekend, Illinois College’s Debate team started their fall season on promising note.
The winning team at UMKC was made up of James Hills and Austin Phillips. Head coach Nick Sciullo, an Assistant Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at IC, talks about his team’s recent success.
“We had three teams competing in the Novice Division, which is the division for debaters with no previous debating experience. One of our teams was able to amass a five-and-one record in preliminary rounds, which qualified them to go to single-elimination rounds, where they eventually won the finals of the tournament. Finals are judged by a three-judge panel, and they were able to get the ballot of all three judges. So they won the finals by a 3-0 decision, which makes the win even sweeter,” says Sciullo.
Along with Hills and Phillips, other members of the Debate team include Michael Connolly, Renata Gray, Nathaniel Groh and Alyssa Herzig.
“They’re interested in making arguments and effecting the world around them. Many of them are involved in other activities here on campus, activities like leadership and civic engagement, so a lot of these students want a competitive outlet, and debate kind of fills that void. It allows them to fulfill their competitive desires as well as the sorts of skills and idea they’re learning in their classrooms,” Sciullo says.
Next on the schedule for the Illinois College Debate team is a trip to the University of Kentucky on the weekend of October 1st. Sciullo says he expects the team to be challenged in Lexington.
“Some of the best teams in the country go there, and it’s been a hotly-contested tournament. Not that UMKC isn’t but we’ll draw some different teams to Kentucky that maybe couldn’t make it to UMKC. I expect that we’re going to do well there, but we’re definitely going to be tested. Luckily for me and for us, we tend to play up, or debate up, to our competition,” explains Sciullo.
Back in April, IC’s Debate team received the distinguished Garrison Newcomer Award from the Cross Examination Debate Association after reviving the program from a decades-long hiatus.