The Team

Students

Reece Likeke Aguilar

Reece Likeke Aguilar

Reece Aguilar is a junior majoring in English and is currently enrolled in the Honors College at UNLV. He competed in policy debate and in individual events for four years at Loyola High School, in Los Angeles, CA. In high school, Aguilar qualified for the prestigious Tournament of Champions and the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournaments. His debate career highlights at UNLV include reaching elimination rounds at numerous tournaments such as Wake Forest, USC, Fullerton, Gonzaga, UMKC, the CEDA National Championship Tournament, and the prestigious National Debate Tournament. Aguilar aspires to be either a lawyer or to teach English at his high school alma mater.

Joe Bradley

Joe Bradley

Joe Bradley is a junior majoring in computer engineering. He transferred to UNLV in fall 2017 from George Mason University where he debated for two years. During his competitive career at GMU, Joe reached the elimination rounds at the West Point, Appalachian State University, and Liberty University debate tournaments. He hopes to attend a top-tier law school, and improve the U.S. Legal system.

Don Fagan

Don Fagan

Don Fagan is a sophomore majoring in political science. He attended high school at Advanced Technologies Academy, where he competed in public forum debate for four years. During his time as a public forum debater, he appeared in the later elimination rounds of national tournaments such as Arizona State University and qualified for National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament in his senior year. In his freshman year at UNLV, Donald and his partner were crowned tournament champions in the novice divisions of the Pacific Championship Tournament at USC and Cal State Fullerton tournaments. Don was also recognized as the top individual speaker at the USC Pacific Championship Tournament. He and his partner also took third place in the novice division at the CEDA National Championship Tournament. Fagan looks forward to becoming further acclimated to policy debate while growing his base of knowledge about the activity in the upcoming year.

Madison Frazee

Madison Frazee

Madison Frazee is a first year student majoring in Political Science and is enrolled in the Honors College at UNLV. Frazee grew up in Wyoming and attended Newcastle High School where she competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate for four years. She finished her senior year of debate taking second place statewide in the 3A division for Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Frazee aspires to attend law school and to one day become a federal court judge.

Matthew Gomez

Matthew Gomez

Matthew Gomez is a senior majoring in political science. Matthew began debating in Utah at Bingham High School where he became the first team in school history to qualify to the Tournament of Champions and finish in the top 16 at the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament. Since joining the UNLV Debate Team, Matthew has qualified to the National Debate Tournament (NDT) twice. In 2017, Matthew and his partner reached the elimination rounds of the NDT, placing them in the top 32 individual teams in America. He hopes to obtain an advanced degree in political science or public policy, eventually working as a policy analyst in a think tank.

Jeffrey Horn

Jeffrey Horn

Jeffrey Horn is a junior majoring in political science. He debated for Green Valley High School in Henderson, NV. Horn qualified to the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament his sophomore, junior, and senior years, debating in the elimination rounds each year and receiving top 10 speaker awards his junior and senior year. In his senior year, Horn appeared in late elimination rounds in numerous nationally competitive tournaments and qualified to the prestigious Tournament of Champions. In his freshmen season at UNLV, he advanced to the elimination rounds of several nationally competitive tournaments and represented the university at the National Debate Tournament. In his sophomore year, Horn and his partner were ranked as the top team in the California, Nevada, and Arizona district and they reached the elimination rounds at multiple tournaments including the University of Kentucky, Gonzaga University, CSU Fullerton, and the National Debate Tournament, which placed them in the top 32 individual debate teams in America.

Amber Jones

Amber Jones

Amber Jones is a senior majoring in Communication Studies. Jones debated at Foothill High School in Public Forum for four years. In her first year on the team, Jones and her partner advanced to elimination rounds at multiple tournaments in the novice division, including the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship Tournament. Jones joined the UNLV Debate Team to gather skills that will help her reach her ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer. She hopes to attend law school after graduating in spring 2017.

Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios is a senior majoring in Political Science. He debated for four years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA. He advanced to the elimination of multiple tournaments, including quarterfinals of the Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV, and he was first speaker at the Victory Briefs Tournament. Throughout his four-year competitive career at UNLV, Roman has advanced to the elimination rounds at multiple regular-season collegiate debate tournaments including UNLV and Weber State University. Roman qualified to the prestigious National Debate Tournament (NDT) in 2016 and 2017 and advanced to the elimination rounds both years, placing him and his partner in the top 32 individual debate teams in America.

Stephanie LeClaire-Vazquez

Stephanie LeClaire-Vazquez

Stephanie LeClaire-Vazquez is a freshman who is currently exploring majors. She attended Palo Verde High School in Summerlin, NV where she debated there in policy for three years. As a debater at Palo Verde, LeClaire-Vazquez participated in the UNLV Debate Team’s Las Vegas Debate League meets and attended the Rebel Debate Institute in the summers of 2015 and 2016. Following graduation, she is considering a career in computer science.

Ryan Quintana

Ryan Quintana

Ryan Quintana is a freshman majoring in Finance. Ryan began his debate career at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, Nevada where he debated in policy for three years. Ryan attended the Rebel Debate Institute in the summers of 2013, 2014, and 2015. Ryan hopes to attend law school and eventually practice corporate law.

Allie Ryerson

Allie Ryerson

Allie Ryerson is a freshman majoring in Business. Ryerson attended Coronado High School in Henderson, Nevada where she competed in public forum debate for one year and in policy debate for three years. She participated in Las Vegas Debate League throughout her high school career and attended the Rebel Debate Institute in the summer of 2016. During her senior year of high school, Ryerson and her partner finished in 14th place, out of more than 200 teams, at the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament. Ryerson hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in corporate law.  

Ember Smith

Ember Smith

Ember Smith is a sophomore enrolled in UNLV’s Honors College majoring in Economics. She debated for four years at Green Valley High School and qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament her sophomore, junior, and senior year. In her junior year, she won the Clark County tournament and in her senior year, Ember appeared in several elimination rounds of nationally competitive tournaments, including the round of sixteen at Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV and quarterfinals at the Southwest championship at Arizona State. As a frosh at UNLV in 2017, Ember and her partner advanced to the final round, taking second place at both the San Francisco State University and the Pacific Championship tournament hosted at USC.

Rylee Taylor

Rylee Taylor

Rylee Taylor is a senior majoring in Psychology. Taylor debated for two years at West Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was a lab leader at the 2014, 2015, 2016 summer Rebel Debate Institute(RDI) and this past summer served as a Co-Director for the RDI. She is currently interning for Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s Las Vegas office. Taylor hopes to become more involved within the debate community and to continue to improve her debate skills. Her ultimate goal as a member of the UNLV De

Kristian Thymianos

Kristian Thymianos

Kristian Thymianos is freshman majoring in Political Science. Kristian began his debate career at Coronado High School in Henderson, Nevada in Public Forum debate. Kristian hopes to go into politics, eventually running for elected office.

Brian Warren

Brian Warren

Brian Warren is a junior majoring in Criminal Justice. He competed for four years in Lincoln Douglas debate at Clark High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. In his first year at UNLV, Warren and his partner advanced to elimination rounds at multiple tournaments, and were crowned National Champions in the Novice Division at the 2016 Cross-Examination Debate Association National Championship Tournament. He hopes that continuing his debate career at UNLV will help him further hone his communication skills to assist him with his goal of becoming a lawyer.

Coaching Staff

Jacob Thompson

Jacob Thompson debated at Wayne State University (B.A., 1999), where he learned the value of a great coaching staff, a personal dedication to hard work, and the transformative power of practice. While debating for Wayne State, Thompson competed in the elimination rounds of the NDT and several major national tournaments. After debating at Wayne State, he worked for five years as an assistant debate coach at the University of Kansas, where he also completed his M.A. and Ph.D. (2006). Working at Kansas reinforced his lessons from Wayne State, but also gave him unique insight into argument and coaching strategy. Thompson then worked for three years as the director of forensics at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). In 2005, he coached the UNI debate team to be ranked as the "Most Improved University Debate Team in America".

Thompson took the position as the director of debate at UNLV in 2007, and thanks to the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. Berman, he was essentially able to create the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum from the ground up. In his short time at UNLV, the team has had amazing successes. Thompson predicts even greater success for our program in the future and has been focusing on fundraising and recruiting, which will allow the team to bring some of the best and brightest debaters to compete for UNLV's program. The UNLV Debate Program is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation. Their ultimate goal is to be consistently ranked as one of the top-10 debate programs in America and to win a national championship (or several of them).

In addition, Thompson is committed to expanding access to policy debate for students throughout the Clark County School District. In 2011, he created the Las Vegas Debate League (LVDL) and LVDL Advisory Board. In its short existence, the LVDL has successfully attracted thousands of dollars in external support, has resuscitated policy debate in the CCSD, and continues to add CCSD middle and high schools to the ranks of those that field policy debate teams. Generally speaking, his scholarly interests lie in the areas of argumentation, political communication, and U.S. foreign policy rhetoric. Overall, with the help of the rest of our amazing coaching staff, Thompson hopes to make UNLV one of the most competitive debate programs in the nation.

Darrian Carroll

Darrian Carroll

Darrian Carroll is in his second year of the UNLV Communication Studies M.A. program, and is a Graduate Assistant Coach for the UNLV Debate Team. As an undergraduate student, Darrian debated for the University of North Texas. During his time at UNT, Darrian qualified for the National Debate Tournament and participated in the elimination rounds of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship Tournament. Darrian won the KCKCC Blue Devil debate tournament and was recognized as the 7th best individual speaker at the CEDA National Championship Tournament. Darrian was integral to the UNLV Debate Team's competitive success in 2016-17, and he hopes to help build on that success this year.

Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki joins the team as the new Assistant Director in the 2016-2017 season. He received his undergraduate degree in International Relations while debating for Michigan State University, and went on to earn his Master’s in Communication Studies from UNLV. After gaining coaching experience working with the debate teams at Dartmouth College and the National Debate Tournament semifinalist team at Michigan State University, he is excited to return to UNLV and help the Rebels compete at the highest levels of the activity.

Nick Lepp

Nick Lepp

Nick Lepp joins the Communication studies department at UNLV as an M.A. candidate and Assistant Debate coach. This is Nick's 10th year being involved in policy debate, after having debated for five years at James Madison University and for four years at Broad Run High School in Virginia. In addition to debating, Nick has nine years of coaching experience at numerous different high schools and summer debate institutes. As an assistant debate coach at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida, Nick successfully helped coach the school's first team to qualify for the prestigious Tournament of Champions. During his collegiate debate career, Nick qualified for the National Debate Tournament four times and was an octafinalist at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship Tournament, as well as the winner of numerous regional tournaments and debating awards.