Debate teams split third place, speakers honored

National colleges compete in speech event

By Brian Boyle, Spotlight Editor

The Contra Costa College speech and debate team stood tall in the Biggest Little City Classic speech and debate tournament in Reno.

Speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said, “The BLCC is held every year and it gets colleges from all across the country — colleges from Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and California were there.”

Six CCC students traveled to Reno from Oct. 17-19 in order to compete at a national level.

“We competed against San Jose State, Chico State and (San Joaquin) Delta that I remember,” debate team member Eric Vaughn said.

The two debate teams from CCC tied for third place in the tournament, after earning their way into the final round against the advancing teams from San Joaquin Delta College.

“Normally, they would have earned the bronze,” Diestler said. “But in Reno, they give out shot glasses. They said to call them ‘tooth-pick holders’ for the underage competitors.”

Diestler said the debate teams lost in split decisions. Split decisions mean that a panel of judges presided over the debate, and though the majority decided on one victor, there was an outlier that believed CCC won.

The debate team competed in multiple rounds of what is known as parliamentary debate. Parliamentary debate is a style of debate where debaters are assigned a topic and a position 25 minutes before being required to debate the issue. During the speeches competitors can interrupt their opponents.

These interruptions can be to ask questions, offer points of clarification in where they define a term being misused or for to exclaim points of order, where they accuse their opponents of stepping outside of the rules surrounding the debate. The interruptions also can be used strategically to interrupt opponents in an attempt to confuse them.

Diestler said the competitors from Delta aptly used interruptions during their rounds against CCC. The overall award for which team won is based upon the team’s effort as a whole during the debate, but 10 individual speakers are honored during the tournament based upon their own outstanding performance. Of the 10 speakers honored, three were from CCC.

Debate team member Nicholas Delgado ranked third in speaker points, with fellow teammate Diamonique Spain ranking fourth. Vaughn placed seventh overall in speaker points.

Delgado was also a finalist in several events that were not debate related. Delgado was a finalist in impromptu speaking, in which competitors are given a topic with almost no time to prepare for their speech and in extemporaneous speaking, in which the competitor delivers a prepared speech but is not allowed to refer to their notes.