Highlighting Delta: The force is strong with Delta’s debate team

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The Delta College speech and debate team, also known as “Delta Force,” had its biggest victory of the semester last weekend, on Nov. 7, winning the Paul Winters Tournament held at the University of the Pacific.

“We have dominated the competition this year,” said Speech and Debate Coach Jeff Toney in an email interview. “This has not been a common thing for our team since I’ve been coaching here.”

Delta Force has traveled around the country to places including Pennsylvania, Nevada and San Francisco, going up against more than 30 schools in each tournament and debating a range of topics from domestic to international issues, according to Toney.

“We have improved every single year and we have added new coaches and professors to our department that have all helped, in some capacity, with our team’s success,” he said.

Toney has been a speech teacher since 2011 and has been coaching the debate team since 2006.

Along with Toney are Kathleen Bruce and Nicole Sandoval, Bruce used to be a competitor for speech and debate and enjoyed it so much she decided to coach.

“A lot of progress has been made since the beginning,” said Bruce in an interview. “A lot of our stu- dents were brand new and have practiced and worked hard to get where they are today.”

This semester, Delta Force competed in tournaments such as the Golden Gate Openers in San Fran- cisco, Lafayette Speech and Debate Tournament in eastern Pennsylvania and the Big Little City Classic in Nevada, which all lead to the Paul Winters Invitational victory.

The Paul Winters Tournament, said to be the largest tournament this semester, had more than 40 colleges competing from a range of states such as Texas, Colorado, Kansas and many more.

Delta Force dominated the competition at Paul Winters with a total of 306 points, with Rice University from Texas coming in second with 170 points. “I expected us to win,” said Bruce. “But I didn’t expect to win by that much, especially against a four year college.”

Hailey Heperle, a recently recruited member of the Delta force, was also happy with the team’s progress this semester.

“We killed it this semester,” said Herpele. “Just from the first tournament, we could see that there have been improvements and have had a lot of people making breaks. It wasn’t surprising because we all worked really hard and it all paid off.”

According to Bruce, there has also been a total of 43 individual awards, a new record for Delta College. A lot of students would like to participate in speech and debate but are scared of public speaking. Toney’s advice for those students would be “sign up for the class (COMM 52), engage in the program, and we’ll help do the rest. It’s that simple. If you don’t try, you will never get better.”

The next tournament is on Jan. 29.