The Tyler Junior College speech and debate team is off to a strong start this season, having earned top honors at recent tournaments that were held virtually.
Hill Country Swing tournament
On Sept. 19 and 20, the team participated online Hill Country Swing tournaments.
“Our students shined, even in this unfamiliar format,” said M’Liss Hindman, TJC speech professor and team director. “Fifteen colleges and universities were in attendance, representing nine states. That’s more states than usual participating in this tournament, and many of the top programs in the country decided to pay a virtual visit to Texas.”
During Day 1 of the event, hosted by Texas State University, TJC winners included:
• Ja’Quacy Minter, of Mount Pleasant, who won second place in poetry interpretation, fourth in program oral interpretation and dramatic interpretation, and fifth in prose interpretation
• Ally Runk, of Hallsville, fifth in poetry interpretation
• Andrew Byrd, of Hughes Springs, sixth in poetry interpretation
TJC placed fifth in Overall Sweepstakes, just behind the University of Alabama, The University of Texas at Austin, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Arizona State University.
On Day 2, hosted by UT Austin, TJC winners were:
• Minter, first in program oral interpretation, fourth in poetry interpretation and sixth in prose interpretation
• Samantha Rodden, of Lindale, fourth in dramatic interpretation
Again, TJC placed fifth in Overall Sweepstakes.
The TJC team also includes: Craig Matthews of Brownsboro, Jessica Saling of Arlington, Darian Burroughs of Hallsville, JoLee Stuart of Whitesboro, Ellis Carl of New Diana, and Rilee Carson of Emory.
Team assistant director is Joan Andrews, TJC speech professor.
“This was a very impressive start against this level of competition,” Hindman said. “All of the students did well.”
Virginia is for Lovers Tournament, hosted by James Madison University
At the Virginia tournament, 21 schools entered from coast to coast, with all of the most prominent university speech teams in attendance: UT Austin, Alabama, George Mason University, Western Kentucky University, Bradley University and Lewis and Clark College.
In a modern-day twist on the story of David and Goliath, TJC team captain Ja’Quacy Minter emerged as “David,” besting many top competitors from universities across the country.
Minter won first in poetry interpretation, third in program oral interpretation and was named second top overall speaker, defeating many seniors from major universities.
Hindman said, “He has already qualified to compete in nationals in the spring, and it’s only October. We are so proud of this humble, talented young man.”
For more information on TJC speech and debate, go to TJC.edu/speech.