The Central Texas College (CTC) Speech and Debate Team finished earned a second-place finish at the 57th annual Sooner Showdown Speech and Debate Tournament at the University of Oklahoma last week. The competitive field consisted of 32 four-year universities and 21 community colleges. CTC placed second overall, two points behind the current community college national champions Glendale College of Phoenix, Arizona.

Individually, team members earned 15 awards and four national qualifications. Freshman Katie Weaver was named the second place speaker overall in a pool of more than 40 competitors.  She would finish in third place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate after losing her semi-final round against Texas Christian University. Freshman Mike Smith lost a two-to-one decision to a representative of the University of Oklahoma and finished fourth in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Four CTC team members advanced to elimination rounds of Parliamentary Debate in a pool of more than 100 competitors. Freshmen Joseph Bahr and Robert Borntrager and De’Ja Higgins, sophomore, advanced to the sweet sixteen round, while Jeff Jackson, freshman, advanced to the elite eight round by defeating a competitor from the University of California at Long Beach. He would then lose to a representative from Southern Methodist University.  

In speech events, Higgins led the team with a fifth place finish in Persuasive Speaking, fifth in Duo Interpretation and fourth in Poetry Interpretation. Shay Connely, freshman, also advanced to finals taking sixth place in Informative Speaking.

The CTC Speech and Debate Team will now travel to the University of Houston for the state championships on December 1.


Photo: (left to right) Robert Borntrager, Nathan Van Zant, Joseph Bahr, DeJa Higgins, Shay Connely, Katie Weaver, Mike Smith and Jeff Jackson.