Debate Team Argues Way To Success

by Elizabeth Davis

There may have been a lot of debating at last Saturday’s BBQ Capital of the World Debate Tournament, hosted by Owensboro Community and Technical College, but there’s no argument over the success of Transylvania’s debate team.

Transy’s speech and debate competitors won two events, impromptu counseling and extemporaneous speaking, and earned awards in many others. They also finished second in “sweepstakes,” or overall team points earned, and won the Robert Anderson traveling trophy for success over the years at the tournament.

“I was very proud of our performance. We lost two amazing senior leaders last year (Marshall Jolly and Shayanna Little), we had several team members missing for various reasons (the play, basketball, etc.), we had four people competing in a college tournament for the first or second time, and we were missing one of our assistant coaches, Clint Jones, who has been instrumental in our success, especially in debate,” Head Coach Gary Deaton said.

Junior Katrina Mineo is also supportive of her teammates, stating that they have “a very unique team, and dynamic and awesome coaches.”

This year’s speech and debate members have prepared well – so much so that the final match in last weekend’s debate tournament came down to two Transy teams. Although seniors Tyler Murphy and Chase Bannister took first place, the teams did not play each other in order to maintain unity.

Mineo, who participates in debate, impromptu counseling and broadcasting, continued, “I was very pleased that we had two teams do so well that both made it to finals, but I was uncomfortable with the idea of debating against my teammates.”

The amount of information and prep work that goes into this success is extensive.

First-year J.R. Enderle, who participates in extemporaneous speaking and debate, said that there is “a lot to absorb, but everyone’s willing to help and teach.”

However, according to Deaton, preparation for speech and debate often goes hand in hand with the liberal arts education Transy affords.

“The breadth and depth of knowledge our students possess as a result of their classroom experiences is a key to our preparation,” he said. “Beyond that, we meet once a week to discuss debate and limited prep (do instruction, answer questions, etc.). (Assistant Coach) Leigh Ann (Jordan) also works with the interpers during these meeting times. In short, the type and amount of preparation is event-specific, but being Transy students is a big part of the preparation for our students.”

Enderle agreed, “It’s all about using the things you learn in a productive manner.”

List of events won and by whom:

Raven Mineo was the champion in impromptu counseling, second in impromptu speaking and third in radio broadcasting. Tyler Murphy was tops in extemporaneous speaking, third in impromptu counseling and third in impromptu speaking. Again in impromptu speaking, Virginia Hamilton finished fourth and Katrina Mineo sixth. Hamilton was also sixth in prose interpretation. Erica Mundell was fifth in dramatic interpretation and was third among novices in poetry interpretation. J.R. Enderle finished sixth in extemporaneous speaking. Transy also had two top novices, Bryan Dickman in impromptu counseling and Andrew Boyette in impromptu speaking.

What is forensics?

Although today’s society associates the word forensics more closely with “CSI” than with speech and debate, the America Forensic Association ( describes it as the following:

“Forensics” is a word rooted in the Western world’s classical experience. The Greeks organized contests for speakers that developed and recognized the abilities their society felt central to democracy. These exercises acquired the title “forensics,” derived from the Latin term “for ensis” and closely related to “forum.” Because the training in this skill of public advocacy, including the development of evidence, found one of its important venues in the law courts, the term “forensic” has also become associated with the art and science of legal evidence and argument.


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