Lanter argues himself a new title


He finishes his speech and sits down across from his opponent. Both students sit in anticipation as they await the judge’s decision. The judge sits twirling his pen as he looks at his notes from the round. Finally, the judge delivers the verdict.  

The second weekend in February, the Speech and Debate team left for the national Harvard speech and debate tournament that they attend annually. The team left on Thursday, Feb. 13 and stayed until Monday, Feb. 17. Sophomore Wesley Lanter was among the many on that trip and made it to quarterfinals in the tournament. 

Among the many different styles of debate, Lanter participates in Lincoln-Douglas debate. This form of debate is focused more on ethics rather than pure research, unlike public forum debate. At Harvard, the topic was whether or not states should keep their nuclear arsenals. 

[Lincoln-Douglas is] a oneversusone debate over the morals of future decisions,” Lanter said.  

Lanter had a few challenges with his competition at the Harvard debate tournament. Some of the best schools from all over came to this tournament.  

The teams were just a whole new level of competition, really,” Lanter said. “[They were] top-tier schools that we [had] heard upperclassmen talk about, but we had just never experienced it. So, to have those schools and people who are very well trained, talented, [and] skilled at debate was an amazing experience,” Lanter said. 

Despite this being Lanter’s first year on the team, it was not the first time Lanter had gone up against challenging teamsHe faced a lot of anxiety in the beginning of the year but was able to overcome it with an optimistic outlook. 

“I would be really anxious before going into a round because I never wanted to lose. I wanted to make our team look good,” Lanter said. “I’ve learned how to get over that and go into a round knowing I’m going to try my best. Win or lose, its fine. I know I gave it my all, and the outcome doesn’t matter as long as I feel like I debated my best.” 

At the end of the day, his effort has paid off. For Lanter, his performance at Harvard has been his greatest achievement thus far 

“I was very well prepared for the tournament; I knew exactly what I was doing,” Lanter said. “I felt that I made points very clear and strongly, which lead me to quarterfinals. It felt earned, but it wasn’t [what I] expected before going into the tournament,” Lanter said. 

Along the way Lanter had a lot of help and support, which has shaped him into the debater he is today from junior Mike Agler. 

Mike has guided me through the debate experience as a role model,” Lanter said. “Learning from him, having him care about my growth, and having him put time and effort into making me a better debater was very well-respected. Mike was my biggest supporter,” Lanter said. 

With the help of Agler, his team, and debate coach, Lanter has seen tremendous growth this past year. 

“I always thought I was good at arguing, but debate is a lot more in depth than simple arguing. I have learned how to make claims and back them up with evidence under-fire. I have learned how to attack other arguments to make mine seem more relevant,” Lanter said.