Debate qualifies for quarterfinals

Kayla Hockman
Staff Writer

Two out of three teams from the La Verne Debate Team advanced to the quarter finals of the George Washington Intervarsity Invitational at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. March 21 and 22.

Junior philosophy major Gia Karpouzis, senior speech communication major Natalie Holland and freshman biology major Kim Pineda excelled to quarterfinals.

Ryanne Bible, junior speech communication major, also made it to the quarterfinals as a judge.

“It was definitely a learning experience and they made me make the call of who won,” Bible said. “But (the other judges) agreed with my decision.”

Bible chaired many rounds and was the head judge in the fourth round who delivered feedback to debaters.

Each round had approximately three judges. Bible also was a panelist in the quarterfinals. “Being successful at (judging) now is very rewarding because of what I went through as a speaker,” Bible said. “It was so traumatizing speaking.”

The debate team rarely attends the George Washington Intervarsity Invitational and other east coast debate competitions due to high transportation costs.

“We were invited by George Washington University based on the reputation of University of La Verne’s debate team,” said senior political science major and debate team member Colin Fisk.

The debate team typically participates in domestic tournaments on the west coast but attended this invitational because of a university grant written by debate coach and Director of Forensics Robert Ruiz and Speech Communica­tion Department Chairman Ian Lising with the biology department.

The grant funding was utilized to send the top two freshmen biology students from the January term science communications class to the invitational.

“We are just trying to share the benefits of public speaking with debate and working with another discipline such as biology,” Ruiz said.

Pineda and Alexa Canchola attended the Washington, D.C., tournament.

A final debate tournament determined which students would be traveling to Washington D.C. to compete alongside current debate team members. “It was a rewarding experience for me who is barely starting out (as a debater),” Pineda said.

Students also met with Joe Fengler, Board of Trustee member and former debater, for a personal tour of the nation’s capital.

Fengler is currently the vice president of the non-profit Capitol Hill Village.

“We got to observe and learn things that are directly applicable to things we debate,” Fisk said. “It was a much more rewarding experience compared to other tournaments on the west coast. We were able to utilize our surroundings and environment in educating ourselves and using it toward future competitions.”

Kayla Hockman can be reached at

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