Three newcomers led Oklahoma Christian University’s ethics team to qualifying for the national tournament on Saturday, placing third at the 19th Annual Texas Regional Ethics Bowl.
Oklahoma Christian is the only team from Oklahoma to qualify for five consecutive national ethic tournaments.
“The quality of the competition has never been higher in the six years we have participated in the regional than what we saw this year,” Jeffrey Simmons, the ethics team sponsor, said. “All the teams we faced were well prepared and performed accordingly.”
Oklahoma Christian fielded two teams in the regional competition, facing the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City University. According to Simmons, 24 teams from 17 different universities from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana were represented.
Senior Preston Coleman, sophomore Hadley Lamascus and sophomore Brendan McKinley comprised Oklahoma Christian’s “Eagles” team. Senior Sean Vandyke, senior Megan McKinley and sophomore Tyler Clark made up Oklahoma Christian’s second team, nicknamed “Aguilas,” which is Spanish for “Eagles.”
The Eagles team placed third and the Aguilas team placed fifth, giving Oklahoma Christian an overall third place. According to Simmons, the primary goal going into the regional competition was to perform well enough to earn a spot in the National Ethics Bowl.
“I’m proud that both our teams won every match against such stiff competition,” Simmons said. “I’m especially proud of the Eagles team because this is the first year for all three of these guys.”
According to Coleman, the teams have been practicing for three months, examining nine cases in depth in preparation for the state and regional competitions.
“Each team gets to present on one case that we’ve studied and we present based on the questions given to us at the time,” Coleman said. “We have ten minutes to go through ethical and moral implications of that and then the opposing team gets to present for five minutes about why we’re wrong and then we get five minutes to restate why we’re right.”
Oklahoma Christian will travel to Dallas, TX., for the 21st Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Championship on Feb. 26, 2017.
The teams will now wait until the new cases for the national tournament are published. According to Simmons, these typically come out during the first week of January.
“Next semester is going to be interesting,” Coleman said. “Up to now we’ve used nine cases that we’ve had three months to prepare. Next semester we’re going to have six weeks to look over 15 new cases.”
According to Coleman, the team dynamic has improved, making the members more comfortable around each other and the practices more fun for the team.
“We’re really going to kick it into overdrive in our practices,” Coleman said. “It’s going to be a lot of time, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Simmons said the students on the ethics team challenge and inspire him and January can’t come soon enough.
“It’s truly a joy and an honor to be a part of the OC ethics team,” Simmons said. “I look forward to the start of every ethics bowl season and get a little depressed once it’s over.”