|The TU Forensics Team proudly holds its West Point sabre. From left, Ameena Ruffin, Lenny Herrera, Head Debate Coach Stephen Davis, Korey Johnson and Kevin Whitley.|
TOWSON, Md. (Oct. 31, 2012)—The Towson University Forensics Team has won the 44th Annual West Point Debate Tournament, held Oct. 21-23 at the United States Military Academy in New York.
Two student pairs from the TU Forensics Team competed in the tournament, sophomore Ameena Ruffin and freshman Korey Johnson comprising one pair and sophomore Kevin Whitley and freshman Lenny Herrera the other.
Each pair won four debates and lost two debates to advance to the octafinal round as the sixth and seventh seed, respectively.
After both teams won their octafinal and quarterfinal rounds, they were scheduled to debate one another in the semifinal round. Following standard procedure, the pairs opted instead to elect one team—Whitley and Herrera—to advance to the final round of the tournament.
The pair competed against two students from Rutgers University in a debate that was performance-focused in style, a technique created in part by Towson University over the last decade. Because the topic of this year’s tournament was energy policy, the panel for the final round comprised five energy policy experts.
Whitley and Herrera won the final round on a 4-1 decision, becoming the first team composed entirely of people of color to win the the coveted West Point sabre, a traveling trophy established in 1967 that Towson University last won in 1998.
Towson also won several tournament speaker awards: Korey Johnson earned tenth speaker, Kevin Whitley earned fifth speaker and Ameena Ruffin earned fourth speaker.