Fresno State’s Barking Bulldogs Debate Team gave a strong performance at the Golden Gates Debate tournament at San Francisco State University, said Tom Boroujeni, director of debate at Fresno State.
Barking Bulldogs team member Primavera Martinez and Hunter Sansom advanced to the final round after winning five of six preliminary rounds and defeating the University of Nevada in the semifinals held from Sept. 22-24.
“I am very proud of them,” Boroujeni said.
He said that he admires how his students juggle both maintaining good grades and still manage to prepare for upcoming competitions.
In the final round of the tournament, the pair faced Chabot College. Martinez and Sansom lost by a 2 to 1 judge’s decision, but Sansom said she was happy with how they performed. She focused more on gaining skills than the results.
“Getting second place was such a big confidence booster because debate is not an easy thing by any means,” Sansom said. “It’s a lot of research and hours.”
Sansom, who is in her second semester on the team, said she relied on her experienced partner.
“Having Primavera as a partner has been such a blessing because there are times in rounds where I’m not sure what direction we should take or what arguments we should go for or the responses I should have,” she said.
Sansom said Martinez is someone she can depend on during prep time before a debate and ask for guidance.
Martinez said she and Sansom might have been caught off guard by an “unorthodox approach” by Chabot.
But, Martinez said both performed well enough to be recognized in the tournament. Martinez won a fourth-place speaker award and Sansom won an eighth-place speaker award.
Nick Mirza and partner Correll Vaughn are new to the team this semester and both fared well in their first tournament.
As partners, Mirza and Vaughn won four of six preliminary rounds and missed making the elimination rounds by less than a tenth of a speaker point.
Vaughn won a 10th place speaker award, which he said caught him off guard.
“I was really surprised, I wasn’t expecting that when I would get up there. I would be saying things but I don’t know if I would be saying the best things,” Vaughn said.
Mirza was also surprised at how well he and Vaughn did given their little experience. He said the atmosphere was intimidating at first, but the feeling went away as the tournament progressed.
“Overall, it went a lot better than expected considering that it was my first debate ever. Most of the things that I did were wrong, but the entire thing was a learning experience,” Mirza said.