The University of Wyoming debate team has done well in its first three performances this year, including events at Weber State University, Georgia State University, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.  

At the Las Vegas Classic Invitational, Seniors Mary Marcum of Omaha, Neb., and Hunter McFarland of Twin Falls, ID., made it into the elite eight.  Both students obtained the fourth seed overall.  Marcum was recognized as the number 11 overall speaker of the tournament.

The pair defeated a team from the University of Texas three times in making their way through the tournament.  Marcum and McFarland beat all but one of the seven teams they went up against in the preliminary debates; six of those teams had winning records.

The duo’s strongest start to the season came several weeks earlier in Atlanta, at the Georgia State University tournament. They finished 36th out of 120 teams from across the country.  Marcum and McFarland were able to take down teams from some of the most acclaimed universities in the US, including Wake Forest, Emory University, Northwestern University, and Michigan State.

“The two seniors narrowly missed the cutoff for elimination rounds. With only two tournaments under their belts, it is clear that Marcum and McFarland are poised to have a huge season,” Travis Cram, UW Debate Coach and assistant lecturer in the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Also with four wins at the Georgia State University tournament were Kalispell, Mont. senior Bria Frame and Cheyenne junior Carter Henman.  In their final debates against Wake Forest, Liberty University, and Cornell, the team came away with three straight victories.

“The workload leading up to the Atlanta trip was daunting, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect,” said Henman. “Our pre-tournament research ended up being useful and won us quite a few debates. I’m less worried about being surprised by something unexpected next time.”

Frame and Henman were solid throughout the first three competitions of the season, winning over UNLV, San Francisco State, University of Texas-Dallas, Gonzaga, and Wichita State.

Juniors Spencer Culver of Kansas City, Mo. and Courtney Thomson-Lichty of Casper beat three teams in Atlanta.

Before capping off the current season, UW’s debate team has three more trips.  They will attend to the Harvard Debate Tournament in Cambridge, Mass.; the Joe C. Jackson Invitational in Oklahoma City; and the Shirley Invitational at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The team is set to travel to four tournaments as well as championship tournaments in the spring.  The University of Wyoming will host two debate events that will be open to the public.

Assisting are Risha Bhattacharjee, currently attending medical school at the University of Minnesota; Mike Bausch, who in 2012 received his M.A. in communication and journalism; and Zach Moss, who is a graduate student working through his second year in communication and journalism.