The Barking Bulldogs team of Candis Tate and Sierra Holley defeated the University of California, Berkeley team 2-1 in the championship round to retain Fresno State’s No. 1 ranking in the 30-team Pacific District 1.
Fresno State sent two teams of two speakers that competed Jan. 18-19 in the Berkeley open (varsity) division.
The team of Erica Barton and Carla Caffrey-Casiano defeated Pepperdine, Weber and Sacramento State.
Barton is a Philosophy/Women’s Studies major and Caffrey-Casiano is a Psychology major. Both are seniors from Fresno.
Tate, a senior Communication/Africana Studies major from Inglewood, and Holley, a senior Political Science/Africana Studies major from Fresno, finished 5-1, earning first and 17th place individually to help retain Fresno State’s high rankings, Cooper said.
“As a team, Sierra and Candis have almost single-handedly helped us retain our position as No. 1 in Pacific District 1 and helped us gain No. 11 in the national rankings,” said Devon Cooper, Fresno State’s debate director and a lecturer in the Department of Communication.
In the preliminary rounds, Tate and Holley defeated University of Southern California, University of Central Oklahoma, Weber State and California. In the quarterfinals, they defeated California State University, Fullerton with a 3-0 decision to set up the rematch with California for the championship.
In November, the Barking Bulldogs team made its presence known when Holley and Tate broke into the elimination rounds at Wake Forest University’s Shirley Classic, where they beat No. 2 Harvard.
A month earlier, Fresno State students Nadia Lewis and Jamila Ahmed made college debate history at the Henry Clay Invitational Debate Tournament at the University of Kentucky when they became the first two African-American non-traditional speakers to ever win first and second place individual awards.
Established in 1971, the Henry Clay competition is one of the oldest and largest U.S. policy, varsity debate tournaments in America. The Fresno State debate team was among 286 speakers from 30 schools.
Dr. Shanara Reid-Brinkley, director of debate at University of Pittsburgh, said it was the first time in the history of national debate competition that two African-American women have finished as the top two speakers at any national tournament.
The feat has earned the two Fresno State students recognition in publications across the nation, including JET Magazine.
Lewis is a junior Psychology major from Vallejo and Ahmed is a senior Communication major from Fresno.
Next, the Barking Bulldogs hit the road again for the University of Texas Open Debate Tournament Feb. 8-9 in Austin.
University Communications news intern Ashlie Day contributed to this report.