UCF Debate Team Finishes Record-Breaking Year

Story by Nicholson NewsDebate PicThe UCF debate team completed a record-breaking year at the Novice-JV National Championship Tournament, hosted by West Virginia University in March.

Joseph Tracy, debate team member, was named 24th speaker in the individual speaking awards. This honor recognized Tracy as among the top 25 first-year speakers in the nation.

Over the entire year, the debate team competed at seven tournaments and established at least three school records for the modern era.  For the 2015-2016 season, the debate squad finished with a 61 percent win-loss record. Second, the debate team finished the season with a total of 22 awards. Finally, the team finished with four first-place awards including two tournament championships (along with two top-speaker awards).

The team’s continued growth can be highlighted in four accomplishments:

First, the debate team won the tournament championship at the third annual Sunshine State Showdown. This competition is an early-season event, hosted at UCF for novice and junior varsity level debaters. While this year was the third annual event, UCF Debate had never won the title in either division.  The Knights team of Davis-Irimia finished with an undefeated record, winning the novice division championship. UCF debater Anwar Davis was also named the top speaker of the division. The team’s performance was particularly impressive, as overall the debate squad managed a rare “sweep” of the division, with teams finishing first, second, and third place. The UCF team of Shoemaker-Mika finished in second place, while debaters Dor-Swenson took third place.

A few weeks later, the team was able to match this feat at the next competition.  At the Las Vegas Classic, hosted by UNLV, the team again swept the top awards in novice division.  The team of Davis-Irimia again finished the tournament undefeated and captured the novice division tournament championship.  This time, Andrei Irimia was named the top speaker.  The UCF team of Shoemaker-Swenson finished in second place and Dor-Tracy was the third-place team.  In the individual speaking awards, UCF students were awarded four of the top five awards overall.

Third, for the first time in the modern era UCF team achieved recognition in national rankings.  In addition, the UCF debate squad as a whole cracked the top 50 in the nation at the end of the fall semester.  Among all the teams in the country, UCF Debate was ranked #49 by the Cross Examination Debate Association.

Finally, UCF has established itself as a destination for academic debate competitions.  This coming fall, the UCF Nicholson School of Communication and the debate team are contemplating hosting the fourth annual Sunshine State Showdown, which has become a part of the regular competition calendar for the Florida collegiate debate community.  In addition, in April NSC and UCF Debate hosted the annual national championship tournament of the National Debate Coaches Association.  This tournament awarded national championships to high school students in three debate divisions:  policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, and public forum debate.  Finally, in the spring of 2017 UCF will host the State of Florida Championship for college policy debate.  This will be the first time that a State of Florida collegiate champion will be recognized in at least two decades.

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