Victory at Vanderbilt

The UCF Debate team is showing off its skills and earned several awards and trophies recently. On Oct. 13, 2017, Vanderbilt University hosted its annual invitational debate tournament. Brittany Bolger, Lauren Christie, Louis Dor, Anna Jurlina, Dveen Manoogian, Ariel Olson, Ethan Smith, Joe Tracey and Ethan Uhlig collectively competed at the invitational in both the novice and junior varsity divisions. Jurlina and Smith are freshmen; Bolger, Christie, Olson and Uhlig are sophomores; Tracy and Dor are juniors; Manoogian is the only senior.

In the novice division, teams of Christie and Jurlina, and Manoogian and Bolger achieved top honors. Both teams finished their preliminary rounds undefeated with a record of 6-0. Manoogian and Bolger squared off against a team from the University of Northern Iowa, winning on a 3-0 decision in semi-finals. The team of Christie and Jurlina met Manoogian and Bolger in the finals and, in a coach’s choice, were selected as the novice division champions.

In addition to their strong performance, Bolger, Christie, Jurlina and Manoogian received four out of the top five speakers in the entire novice division. Such a feat is a demonstration of how dedicated the entire team is.

“The UCF Debate Team’s debaters have the tenacity, perseverance and intellectual aptitude of change-makers,” said Nick Sciullo, Ph.D., who is NSC’s new John F. Butler director of debate. “Combined with countless hours of practice, these students have already become a force to be reckoned with in the Southeast.  The dedication this team shows is emblematic of the hard work needed to be nationally successful debaters.”

Three UCF teams competed in the junior varsity division. The teams of Uhlig and his partner, Olson and Smith, and Tracey and Dor finished their preliminary rounds with winning records 6-0, 5-1 and 4-2, respectively. The team of Tracey and Dor finished their run at semi-finals in a coach’s choice with UCF’s Uhlig and partner advancing. Tracy received an award as the ninth place speaker in the junior varsity division. Olson & Smith also finished their elimination run in the semi-finals against Wayne State University in a 2-1 decision. Olsen received eighth place speaker.

In the junior varsity final round, Uhlig and partner debated Wayne State’s team. UCF’s top-seeded junior varsity team was one ballot shy of a final round win against Wayne State. Uhlig was the top speaker in the junior varsity with his partner earning second place honors.

The Vanderbilt tournament was the third tournament for the UCF Debate Team.  The team earned honors in each of these three tournaments, and Sciullo said the team is ready to continue their success.

“UCF Debate is poised to make significant strides in its performance including excelling at both the individual and team levels,” said Sciullo.  “With tournaments at Wake Forest University and the University of Miami on the horizon, UCF Debate is eager to meet, head on, the challenging field of debate teams from across the country at these nationally competitive tournaments.”

Regardless of the awards, the students on the team are just happy to participate and do what they enjoy.

“Knowing all of the work we put in during the weeks leading up to the tournament was so well received by the judging pool, made me so proud to be part of the team,” said Christie. “We’re reviving the team this year, but our performance so far has quickly put UCF Debate team back on the map. I feel so honored to be a part of it.”

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