Debate Team wins three major tournaments

The Liberty University Debate Team won the National Debate Tournament (NDT), Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA), and American Debate Association (ADA) championships for the third year in row.  The team defeated schools from all over the country like University of California-Berkeley, James Madison University and Vanderbilt University.

“We hope that by meeting students at other elite schools in an intellectual competition we can help raise Liberty’s profile and the idea that other people have of our academics, so in that way we hope to make everyone’s degree more valuable to them,” senior captain Ross Garrett said.

The debate team has won the championships four out of the last five years.  Liberty is also the only university to sweep all three competitions in one year.

“Every championship is exciting because every team is different,” Coach Michael Hall said.  “Even though many of our debaters had already experienced winning a championship, this season was the only chance this group of debaters had to win a championship.  Next year a new team will pursue a new championship.  That’s what makes each season so exciting.”

Being successful at competitions also motivates the debaters to prepare even harder for the next round of debates.

“It’s always a good feeling to win,” senior captain Joshua Turnage said.  “It makes all the hard work feel worthwhile and gives you the energy and focus to keep pushing through to the next tournaments.”

Liberty’s team broke its own record in the CEDA competition, scoring 197 points compared to last year’s score of 196.  It also broke another of its own records for the NDT competition set in 2004 at 604 points with a score of 626 points for this year.  The 600-point barrier in the NDT competition has only been broken twice, both times by Liberty’s debate team.

“Winning debates is very exciting because you can see that the hours of hard work you put into debates ahead of time is paying off,” junior Austin Woodruff said.

The debate team is losing three senior members this season, Garrett, Turnage and Stephanie Dillard Garrett.  The team is prepared, however, to return next year ready to take another championship.

“We start preparing and researching in the summer and don’t stop until our season ends in April,” Hall said.  “In a word, (we work) hard.”

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