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Debaters Launch New Season at Mississippi College

Merle Ziegler

Presidential politics, another crisis brewing in the Middle East and the nation’s sour economy provide excellent topics for Mississippi College debaters as a new season begins.

Seven debaters are on the MC team for 2012-2013, including returning members, Stephen Wade of Memphis, Alexandra Hendry of Ellisville and William Bettis of Ridgeland.

Competition begins on the road September 29-30 with Mississippi College verbally sparring with Henderson State University in Arkansas. Next up is another tournament across state lines with the University of Arkansas October 5-7.

Other away matches are November 2-4 in Louisiana against LSU-Shreveport and Bossier Parish Community College followed by East Texas Baptist November 9-11. MC hosts a debate tournament on the Clinton campus November 30-December 1.

MC debate coach Merle Ziegler is encouraged with the veterans giving the team a nice boost along with a fresh crop of talented newcomers.

“I expect Alex Hendry to do well this year,” said Ziegler, a communication professor. “She came in last year as a freshman who had to debate at the varsity level due to all her high school debate experience. This year she is past the adjustments that come from transitioning from high school.”

Stephen Wade also made progress moving from the novice to varsity level last year. The MC business student “dominated at the novice level,” and successfully made the transition to varsity, he said. “I expect him to do very well.”

Newcomer Ross McCarty of Meridian, a biology/pre-med major, brings considerable high school experience and will debate at the varsity level during the 2012-2013 season.

Others on the Mississippi College team who will debate at the novice level include Eric Anderson, a political science major from Austin, Texas, Mark Downing, a biology/pre-med major from Brandon, and Mark Sills of Vicksburg, a pre-nursing major.

Debating skills will soon capture the attention of the nation and the world. There are three televised debates scheduled between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney this fall. Millions of viewers will be watching leading up to the November 6th presidential election.

For more information, contact debate coach Merle Ziegler at 601.925.3456 or