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BC Coach of the Year Hosts Speech and Debate Tourney

BC Professor Billy Wooten was awarded KFA Coach of the year during the Kentucky Forensics Association (KFA) 2006 State Championship Tournament, hosted by Berea College.

KFA Tournament at Berea College

"I felt honored that the students chose me for this award. Although I have a strict policy that speech and debate should be centered more on furthering ones knowledge and less on winning trophies, it is nice to be officially recognized for the time and effort it takes to administer a successful program. I honestly owe my successes to my team," said Wooten.

Students that competed in the KFA State Championship Tournament were chosen based on their overall records. Students that place first in their event go on and qualify for the national tournament. The BC team accumulated more quality points than any other school in their division at the state tournament. In addition, the 4 team members qualified to compete in the national tournament.

Christie Poteet, a senior Communication major from Cleveland, Tenn., won the Harlan Hamm Competitor of the Year award. The award is given to a female competitor who has displayed dedication and commitment to the forensics community and who has excelled in forensics competition over the years. "The Harlan Hamm award is a great honor. Not only do I get to represent the entire state of Kentucky, but more importantly, I get to represent my school and team. This award is not just for me, it is for the team who stood behind me through all of my losses and wins. I truly could not have done it without them," said Poteet.

Poteet has been on the Speech and Debate team for 4 years and said that it has helped her in many aspects of her school life, including class discussions, writing papers, and everyday communication. "Competing in forensics is an adrenaline rush," Poteet said. "There is so little time between events that you barely have time to think about anything else other than the next round. It's fun."

Poteet also made it to the semifinals in debate with partner Jeremey Wells and won top novice and sixth place overall in communication analysis. Poteet and her partner Shauna Sams also came in 6th place overall in duo interpretation.

Airzola Cleaves, a junior political science major from Brighton, Col., is in her third year on the team. Cleaves was awarded top novice in Prose Interpretation. While Cleaves did not make it into finals, she was excited about her win nonetheless. "I have mixed emotions about my win... At one point I faced disappointment because Top Novice meant to me that I was close enough to break to finals but I did not. However, on the other hand I felt elated because I have wanted to do well with this particular piece all year and winning Top Novice was my reward," commented Cleaves.

Wooten was proud and excited for his team, especially the few that were able to qualify for finals. Wooten explained, "I expected my competitors to finish strong, but, given that Western Kentucky University, our rival, had so many team entered in debate, I was surprised that we had two teams [Christee Poteet and Jeremey Wells and Shauna Sams and Brandon Dye] break to elimination rounds. I am proud of my entire team."

If for more information on the Berea College Speech and Debate team, contact Billy Wooten at or at (859)985-3762.

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