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Pacific Forensics prevails at season’s most challenging invitational tournament

Steven FariasJan 20, 2016

Since its inception a decade ago, The Mile High Swing-two Parliamentary Debate tournaments hosted in one weekend over winter break-has been one of the most grueling invitational tournaments in the nation. With more than 20 total rounds of competitive debate, the tournaments have proven to be the best tests for qualification to the national champions. Over its first 9 years, 16 out of 18 eventual national champions have made it to the Quarterfinal round of at least one of the tournaments; what is more, ten of the last twelve national champions have been Semifinalists of at least one of the tournaments. Pacific Forensics is hoping that this historical trend continues.

Travelling to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah from Jan. 7 to Jan. 11, Pacific Forensics continued building on a fantastic season, placing itself in position to win a national championship this March. For the first half of The Mile High Swing, the team prepared policy briefs a month ahead of time on four different topic areas including: improvements to domestic infrastructure, modifications to election processes, increased investment in space policy, and increased investment in ocean-based renewable energy. Competing against 88 teams from across the nation, Pacific faced its stiffest competition this season and advanced three teams into the elimination rounds-Evan Haynes and Dallas Phillips, Jonathan Bruce and Reed Ramsey, and new team members Melissa Munoz and Paul Villa. Haynes and Phillips defeated the 2nd seed at the tournament and the 14th best team in the nation from Concordia University, Irvine, on their way to an Octofinalist finish. Bruce and Ramsey defeated teams from Loyola University (ranked 36th in the nation) and the 5th seed at the tournament and the 7th ranked team in the nation from Southern Illinois University to finish as Quarterfinalists. Ramsey also finished as the 20th ranked individual debater at the tournament. Munoz and Villa, competing at their first tournament with Pacific, shocked the entire tournament by defeating the 4th ranked team in the nation from Pt. Loma Nazarene University along with the 5th ranked team in the nation and tournament top seed from William Jewell University to finish as Quarterfinalists.

Forensics Team

The second half of the swing reverted to standard parliamentary debate procedures where teams received the topic 20 minutes before the round. Once again, the three teams of Haynes/Phillips, Bruce/Ramsey, and Munoz/Villa distinguished themselves from the competition. Munoz and Villa finished prelims 3-2 and ended up as Triple-Octofinalists. Bruce and Ramsey finished preliminary rounds with a 4-1 record and beat the 26th ranked team from St. Mary's University on their way to an Octofinalist finish. Bruce and Ramsey also finished as the 11th and 13th best debaters, respectively, at the tournament. Haynes and Phillips out-performed their finish from the previous tournament and their teammates as well. Defeating teams from University of California, Berkeley and University of Oregon, including the top seed, previous tournament champion, and 3rd ranked team in the nation, Haynes and Phillips finished as Semifinalists. This is the best finish for any Pacific team at these tournaments since 2010. Haynes and Phillips also finished as the 16th and 17th best debaters, respectively, at the tournaments.

Pacific's overwhelming success across both tournaments helped the team finish with yet another top 5 sweepstakes award, as University of the Pacific placed fourth among all other universities. Furthermore, the success across the tournaments catapults Pacific into the top ten of season-long rankings while also helping Pacific's individual teams stay ranked in the top 20 nationally. With March and Nationals fast approaching, the team will turn its attention to its final national invitational before the Regional and National Championship tournaments. If past Mile High Swings are any indication, Pacific's greatest success this season is yet to come.


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