Baylor Debate Team Compiles Best Record In Nation

Oct. 12, 2004

by Julie Campbell Carlson

A Baylor University debate team has compiled the highest winning percentage in the country, according to the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA). The team of Josh Oie, a sophomore from White Bear Lake, Minn., and Obie Lansford, a sophomore from Sherman, finished fifth at their first tournament and first at their second. They have a win/loss record of 12-2.

Additionally, a second team of Brooks Johnson, a sophomore from Flower Mound, and Hallie Tripe, a freshman from Lincoln, Neb., has compiled an impressive record of 10 wins and 4 losses. They finished fifth at their first tournament and second at their second tournament.

Much like win/loss percentages in Major League Baseball, CEDA calculates the National Sweepstakes Standings with the national and regional rankings of member institutions based on compiled tournament results throughout the tournament season. The Baylor debate squad has the third highest winning percentage in the nation.

"We are having an outstanding season, so far," said Dr. Karla Leeper, the Glenn R. Capp Professor of Forensics and interim chair of communication studies. "We have an extremely young squad with our top teams made up of sophomores and a freshman, and they should continue to do well."

The top teams next will compete at Wayne State University in Detroit on Halloween weekend. Tournaments typically last from Saturday through Monday.

The university has a history of fielding successful debate teams. Baylor has won the national championship in debate three times and made an appearance in the semi-finals of the national debate tournament in 1996. Additionally, Baylor has one of the longest records of qualifying for the National Debate Tournament in the nation and has one of the largest and oldest programs in all of intercollegiate debate. The university also sponsors the largest high school debate workshop in the nation.

Approximately 25 students are participating in debate this semester. The top teams can travel to up to five tournaments each semester with other teams participating in one or two tournaments.

"We have all levels of experience on our team," Leeper said. "We don't turn anyone away as long as they are ready to do the work.

"College debaters usually are outstanding students. These are students who had high GPAs and test scores coming out of high school, and they are highly sought after by universities."

To make Baylor more attractive to these students, the debate program offers the Glenn R. Capp Fellows Scholarships. With funds provided by debate alumni, the Capp Fellows program is designed to provide significant financial assistance to incoming debaters. Each year, two incoming debaters will receive full tuition scholarships to Baylor. These scholarships will be renewable for four years. In order to renew the scholarships, students must remain active in the Baylor debate program, maintain a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate a commitment to the broad based focus of the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum. The Capp Fellows for 2004 are Samantha Foley of Emporia, Kan., and Tripe.

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