By Meliyah Venerable / Managing Editor 

For the first time in team history, the Missouri Valley College Debate and Forensics team placed in the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. The tournament is an all-day experience for either teams or solo debaters. 

“At Pi Kappa Delta, debaters are usually doing two different forms of debate for 12 hours during the day,” Coach David Bowers explained. “They’ll alternate between forms of debate during that time period in preliminary rounds.  Typically you have to have above a .500 record to break but sometimes even that’s not good enough.  Then you advance to elimination rounds which is a single-elimination bracket.”

The team of Cuauhtemoc Olvera and Eva Agcaoili went 4-1 in the Preliminary rounds of the Parliamentary debate and advanced to the elimination rounds. 

“My partner and I did two forms of the debate together,” Eva Agcaoili said. “The first one is NPDA, an extemporaneous form of debate that we receive the resolution 20 minutes before the round.”

Agcaoili said the team worked hard to be ready for anything in the period leading up to the tournament.

“To prepare for this type of debate we worked in practice to outline shells of arguments that we thought we might encounter at nationals,” she said. “In addition to this, we also practice debating with our other team members. For the second form of debate (Public Forum), we spent a couple of nights researching and preparing arguments for the set resolution as well as looking for blocks to other arguments an opponent might have. Leading up to nationals we spent every practice working and researching and rewriting cases.” 

Olvera and Agacaoili won the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds both with a score of 2-1. But fell in the final round, still naming them the Pi Kappa Delta NPDA JV National Runners Up. 

“Winning elimination debates is one of the more emotionally exhausting things we’ve done so far this year,” Bowers said. “I think that we can always improve in those high-pressure situations to make it easier on ourselves.”

Sha Wilson had a successful tournament and went 3-2 in the International Parliamentary Debate. Wilson was happy with how the tournament went and is looking to improve in future competitions.

“Nationals went really great, it was a very busy time but I made some amazing friends and made some great memories with the team,” Wilson said. “I didn’t do as well as I personally wanted but I held my own and won rounds in both events that I competed in. In further competitions I’m looking to improve, getting more comfortable with what I’m reading and slowing down when I have to. It’s so easy to just read something but not always understand it, especially in the Lincoln Douglas debate.”

The team placed 13th overall out of 63 colleges and universities and was the highest placed school from Missouri. The team is looking forward to the coming tournaments and looking forward to gaining experience and expertise.

“Nationals went better than I expected overall, having such a young team and having them debate in finals rounds at the national level is an incredibly valuable experience,” Bowers said. “I’m excited to see where it goes next year. My favorite part about this year’s team is how well the team works together and supports each other.  What we do is very draining but our team is constantly being supportive and helping each other to succeed.”