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Students conclude successful season at National Debate Tournament, set Liberty University records
Liberty University’s debate team conquered the competition, the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA). Throughout the season, the team has come out strong against all of its participants. The team competed with three separate organizations at once, which included the American Debate Association (ADA), CEDA and National Debate Tournament (NDT).
Director of Debate Michael Hall was very impressed with the team’s season this year.
“The key to our season was senior leadership. We had a core group of experienced debaters willing to lead verbally and by example,” Hall said.
The team this year consisted of 33 hard-working members who put in an average of 20-40 hours a week researching and practicing.
The team went to the National Debate Tournament Championship the weekend of March 29. Their top competitors included Northwestern, the United States Military Academy, Wake Forest University and Harvard. When the team competed at Regionals, their competitors included James Madison University, Mary Washington and George Mason University.
“The National Debate Tournament is the culmination of the entire season. Everyone who participates has to qualify so the level of competition is significantly greater,” debate team member Lincoln Garrett said. “It also marked my last tournament ever. Austin (my partner) and I had relative success throughout the year and we had reasonable expectations for the NDT. We got off to a rocky start and the difficulty of our opponents increased with each round. Despite that, we went 6-2, qualified for elimination rounds and won our first elimination round.”
“The amount of success we had was outstanding and the way the team pulled together for five straight days is what I will really take away from the NDT,” Garrett said.
“The NDT tournament is a lot like basketball tournaments. You must qualify for each round first. Only the top 78 teams are allowed to compete. We had two of our teams qualify to go, which was awesome,” Hall said.
Students enjoy the various forms of debate and the practice that the teams require. They practice just as consistently as any other intercollegiate team. Most of the time spent at practice involves either researching arguments or figuring out how to properly use them in a competition. When individual practices are held, the coaches help perfect verbal and appearance skills.
“This is definitely helping me for when I leave the university. I want to work for the FBI and to do that I need to be able to research and think critically, along with doing that quickly,” freshman member Savon Ayodeji said.
The debate team is always looking for new members who have experience in debate or have some practice with public speaking. To learn more, students can stop by the debate office for more information.
“We welcome hard-working students with or without debate and public speaking ability.. While it helps to have some speaking experience, it isn’t necessary,” Hall said.