Taking the collegiate debating world by storm, the award-winning Los Medanos debate team conquered their recent competition by a landslide, ranking higher than UC Berkeley and Cal Poly San Louis Obispo.
Started in 2011, the team has grown as a strong competitor over the past six years, winning a total of 10 highly acclaimed awards since 2012, including the USU National Champions in BP Debate for Community Colleges. Currently, the team has 13 dedicated club members.
Participating in the San Diego Aztec Invitational on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the team was ranked as the top community college team in world's debate at the tournament. The win was a delightful surprise to the team, as their representing students, Richard Stanfield and Kyle Marshall, professionally debated together for the first time at this invitational.
The team, with both novice and veteran debate students, recently attended the Dominican University Penguin Invitational on Nov. 5 and 6, as the only community college competitor in attendance. The team competed against big name colleges and ended up beating out every competitor, with their two Los Medanos squads going head to head for the first-place title. Students Genaro Mauricio, Richard Stanfield, Israel Castro, Randy Utz, Arianna Berumen, Julio Campos and Tim Sellers brought the Los Medanos team to its success.
"At the Penguin (Invitational), I am not sure I can even describe the energy and momentum that was being generated," said Marie Arcidiacono, the director of forensics for the team. "Our teams were coming out of rounds with some of the biggest smiles on their faces I have seen. When it was announced that that two LMC teams would break (into the finals), we were ecstatic. High-fives and hugs all around."
The great success of the debate team from Los Medanos all comes down to its hard-working and persistent students. While the team spends much of its time practicing, there is definitely no lack of teamwork and encouragement between the students.
"Debate is an extremely nerve-racking, competitive sport, so we all try our best to create a positive environment in practice and in competition," said Genaro Mauricio, the team president. "That positive environment creates an atmosphere that makes everyone feel more comfortable and confident, which are key elements to us being successful in debate."
It has been no easy journey to the top for the debate team. With weekly practices held every Wednesday, team members also invest themselves in additional practices, research briefs and regular current event quizzes, reinforcing preparedness for the students. While they have a vigorous schedule to maintain, they fuel their success with their own passion for debating.
"Hard work and dedication on the students' behalf is the (top) contributor to the success of the LMC Debate Team," said Arcidiacono. "The coaching staff provides them with the structure and guidance, and then it's up to the students to put that theory into practice. Our students practice outside of our mandatory practice, typically twice a week, because they have the desire to continuously improve."
The Los Medanos Debate Team will be hosting the third-annual Steeltown Invitational Debate Tournament, on Jan. 28 and 29.