Debate team finishes recruiting

Weber State Debate has concluded its six-month recruiting from Utah high schools to form its 2012-13 team, which will host the 67th National Debate Tournament here at Weber State University this spring.

For the first time in its 90-year history, Weber State Debate recruited a majority of incoming freshman students from Salt Lake City high schools.

“That’s good for our competitive process, because there’s more and better high schools in the SLC area that do the type of debate that we do,” said the debate coach, Omar Guevara.

Guevara said for high school policy debate, which is composed of teams of two debaters, the action is in SLC.

“It’s difficult for us because we have to recruit against the University of Utah, against BYU,” Guevara said. “Our program has to provided added value for these high-school seniors to make the 30-mile trek up to Ogden rather than live in their parents’ basement and go to the University of Utah.”

Although this year’s recruits are mostly from SLC schools, Guevara said WSU is the top policy-debating school in Utah.

“Oftentimes, it’s difficult for Weber State to recruit against the University of Utah, but not in debate,” Guevara said.

WSU is one of the only schools in the country that recruits exclusively from its jurisdiction.

“Any high-school debater who wanted to stay in Utah for their collegiate years to debate comes to Weber, and that’s a hard-fought battle every year,” Guevara said.

The new recruits are a diverse group, Guevara said. Among them are the top debaters from Bingham High School and Olympus High School — both females.

Guevara said that with the National Debate Tournament coming up this spring, the duo of Dillon Olson and Matt Gomez can set the stage for the new recruits and teach them how Weber State Debate does business and how it does it right.

“This is a very good year to have a team composed of a senior who’s graduating in three years who’s always been mature and had his head on straight and been a great leader — that’s Mr. Olson, and Matt Gomez, who is the best debater that has debated at Weber State ever,” Guevara said.

Together, Olson and Gomez were in the final four at the Michigan State University national tournament last spring.

“Weber State has never attended that freshman/sophomore nationals before, and we surprised a lot of people,” Guevara said. “We took the tournament by storm and beat an outstanding team from the University of Minnesota on a 2-1 decision when they were the first seed and we were the eighth seed.”

Guevara said beating that team has good and bad consequences for WSU.

“Weber State is now officially on the radar, and that’s both a good thing, because it means we’re more reputable, but it’s also a bad thing, because it means the coaching staffs at Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota and Harvard are paying attention to us and are going to make us work harder for the next big W,” Guevara said.