A few members of debate posing at Nationals. (From left to right) Fabian Cuevas, Sydney Verga, Devon Escoto, Hannah Koh, Arynn "Blue" Baldwin, and Olivia Gainer. April 13-14. | Photo courtesy Aaron Donaldson

A team that works together stays together

Humboldt State's debate team is much more than a team

Humboldt State’s debate team is much more than a team

The HSU debate team may not have returned home from nationals with a victory however they persisted and came back with an outstanding sense of determination to rise up and take on the competition that is yet to come.

Team members Sydney Verga and Arynn “Blue” Baldwin shared thoughts on nationals and the hard work that their team presents each year.

“We only really see debate on the West Coast and it’s honestly a completely different style of debate when you go to the East Coast or even the Midwest,” Verga said. “You see so many different styles of debate so it really opened up our eyes to what is out there, now we know what to prepare for.”

Vice President, Olivia Gainer expressing her thoughts on Thursday’s practice debate to the rest of the team on April 18. | Photo by Skylar Gaven

The debate team made their way to South Carolina last weekend where nationals were being held. The team went through eight solid rounds of debates throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Baldwin and Verga were both delighted and proud to see their team advance to nationals. Despite being at the bottom they still managed to hold their heads high throughout the entire competition.

Verga said that Humboldt is usually at the bottom of the bracket and that they’re newer to the circuit.

“We used to just be the bottom of the bracket at nationals,” Verga said. “Now we are at the middle of the bracket and so we are getting better as a team as a whole, all of us are moving up.”

Debate member, Fabian Cuevas giving his final take on the debate that took place at practice. | Photo by Skylar Gaven

Although the team is moving their way up at competitions they still have some struggles with recognition here on campus.

“We are the longest standing debate teams out there which is kind of crazy and people always forget that,” Verga said. “People always forget that we exist as a debate team especially here on campus.”

Debate is always looking for ways to encourage others to check it out.

“We do work hard. We do a lot of stuff but nobody sees, because no one really pays attention,” Baldwin said. “That’s why we are constantly tabling and putting on events like exhibition debates.”

It isn’t just for communication majors. Anybody that goes to HSU is more than welcome to join. The debate team here at HSU has been working constantly to better their craft. They practice all the time making sure that everybody is comfortable with debating and gaining more experience with different styles of debate.

“We work hard year round, during the summer we have debate camp before school starts,” Baldwin said. “We teach a lot of the theories in debate, a lot of the teams don’t teach ‘theory debate,’ they teach how to make argumentations but we teach how arguments work and what arguments are better than others.”

Freshman Hannah Koh delivering her side of a debate topic that the team was practice. | Photo by Skylar Gaven

The strength in this team is definitely due to the amount of effort that everyone puts in but it is also the desire of wanting each other to succeed by working together.

Baldwin said that HSU’s debate team is very unique as an organization and a team.

“We’re a very family oriented team,” Baldwin said. “A lot of other teams you’ll see they hate each other, it’s all a hierarchy system. Here we want to help each other get better so that we can get better as a team.”

HSU’s debate team has come a long way and are happy to have accomplished so much this year. They will continue to practice and are ready for whatever comes at them next year.

“We’re gonna be together at the top too,” Verga said.

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