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Courtesy of Barking Bulldogs Debate Team. From left to right: Quinten Levin, Hunter Sansom, Primavera Leal Martinez, Nick Mirza, Correll Vaughn and Tom Boroujeni

Barking Bulldogs debaters finish season in third place

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story has been corrected.

The Fresno State Barking Bulldogs debate team has ended its first half of the 2017-18 season. The Barking Bulldogs ended the Robert Barbera Debate Tournament at California State University, Northridge in third place.

Tom Boroujeni, director of debate for the Barking Bulldogs, said his team has become a formidable challenger in debate.

“The halls of a debate tournament is a venue where students from other universities dread hearing the phrase ‘You are going against Fresno State’ from their coaches,” Boroujeni said.

Primavera Leal Martinez and Hunter Sansom won five out of six preliminary rounds during the last tournament, which took place Nov. 10 to 12, and advanced to the elimination rounds in the varsity division. They lost to Arizona State University in the semifinal debate, but managed to take third place in the tournament.

Their achievements didn’t stop there.

Martinez received the third place speaker award and Sansom received the eighth place speaker award in the varsity division of the tournament. Martinez said she’s not only learned about herself as a debater, but that she’s also improved her communication skills after being on the team for three semesters.

“I have also noticed a significant improvement in my abilities to articulate my ideas and more importantly [how to], listen to others,” she said.

In the novice division, Nick Mirza and Correll Vaughn won three of their six preliminary rounds. Vaughn received the fifth place speaker award, Boroujeni said.

Vaughn, having only high school debate experience, said, “Debate this semester has not only been extremely fun, but also a real eye opening experience.”

Boroujeni agreed that his team has made strides.

“I am very proud of their showing and cannot wait to see them excel in debate,” he said.

Mirza, too, said he learned how to communicate better after being on the team for just one semester. “I learned how to gain new perspectives and apply them to everyday conversations.” He said his debate coaches played a role in his learning,

Sansom, praising her fellow teammates and coach, said she surprised herself by performing well at the varsity level. She expects to continue contributing to the small team’s success.

“I’m really excited to see what the second half of the season holds for us,” she said.

The team will next compete at the California Swing 1 and 2 tournaments at UC Berkeley Jan. 2 to 5.