Upon returning to campus after an eight-year hiatus, the Barking Bulldog Debate team began its new era by excelling at the novice and junior varsity levels as well as winning its first national varsity debate round.
The team did this despite this semester being the first time many members of the team had ever debated.
“We did better than most expected considering the fact that most of us didn’t have any experience debating prior to this semester,” novice debater Candis Tate said. “I thought the semster went well. We really bonded as a team and fed off each other. We helped each other and that’s why we were able to have success.”
One of the team’s biggest accomplishments this season was winning its first national varsity debate round. The round was won by Tom Boroujeni and Valentine Kovtun. Boroujeni and Kovtun defeated a team from San Francisco State.
The team also reached the finals in a regional varsity tournament against a team from Chico State. Junior varsity debators Erica Barton and Carla Caffrey-Casiano debated varsity after the varsity and junior varsity levels were combined, and then advanced to the finals.
At the junior varsity level, Candis Tate and Andre Mitchell reached the quarterfinals of the USC tournament.
The team had its most success, perhaps, at the novice level where debaters Tate and Mitchell won a tournament at CSU Fullerton and Boroujeni and Kovtun won the Diablo Valley College tournament.
The team also won individual awards. At each tournament debaters are ranked and given an individual award based on where they ranked as a speaker.
Barton won sixth and Caffrey-Casiano won seventh-best varsity speaker at the Diablo Valley College tournament. At the UNLV tournament Barton won eighth and Caffrey-Casiano won ninth junior varsity speaker. Boroujeni won tenth at Diablo Valley in novice and sixth at UNLV novice. Kovtun won fourth in novice at Diablo Valley and second at UNLV. Kovtun also got first at the San Francisco tournament.
At the Fullerton tournament numerous debators won awards as well. Pritpal Randhawa won second, Sierra Holley won third and Tate won fifth best novice speaker.
The team attributes much of its success last semester to Kuswa.
“He was really great for us. Most teams have eight coaches. We only had one,” Holley said.
Tate echoed what Holley said and added, “We definitely couldn’t have done it without him. He’s willing to help with anything and keeps us motivated.”
The team’s goal for the coming semester is to improve.
“We just expect everybody to get better and continue to learn. If we do that then the wins will come,” Holley said.
After a successful first semester the team hopes to take what it learned and apply it to this semester.