Baylor Debate Team Finishes Season In National Top 10, Tops in Texas

May 20, 2009
News Photo 4708

Front Row: Amanda Luppes, Chris Rooney, Dustin Greenwalt, John Cook, Ryan Smith, Alex McVey, Mike Weitz. Back Row: Nate Ford, Grant Nelson, Zack Wagner, Dr. Scott Varda, Dr. Matt Gerber, Reynolds Patterson.

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Baylor University's Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum finished 10th in the final national debate rankings following the 2009 National Debate Tournament.

Finishing ahead of many traditional debate powers, such as Harvard, Dartmouth, USC, Georgia and Texas, Baylor was again the top-ranked college debate program in the state. All members of the 2008-2009 debate squad will be returning next season.

Dr. Matthew G. Gerber, associate professor of communications studies and director of Baylor's debate program, said the team's final ranking speaks to the overall depth and strength of the program.

"Baylor Debate is truly a program rather than just one or two individual teams," Gerber said. "We have four teams that can go out on any given weekend and win a tournament or be in the deep elimination rounds."

Two individual Baylor debate teams qualified for the prestigious National Debate Tournament (NDT), which was held March 28 through April 2 in Austin.

This year, 78 teams competed in the national tournament. Baylor was one of only 19 other debate programs that were represented by multiple teams at the tournament.

The Baylor team of Amanda Luppes, a senior international studies major from Rosemount, Minn., and Chris Rooney, a senior speech communications major from Round Rock, posted a 4-4 record, after losing their break round to a team from the University of California, Berkeley. The Baylor team of John Cook, a sophomore international studies major from Winfield, Kan., and Alex McVey, a junior Spanish major from Olathe, Kan., also posted a 4-4 record at the NDT, defeating teams from Berkeley, Georgia and Southern Cal along the way.

Cook and McVey also had an impressive showing at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship Tournament, held at Idaho State University. The team debated their way into the Sweet 16 before dropping a 2-1 decision to defending national champion Towson University. Baylor also had three other teams at CEDA, all comprised of first-year debaters and all posting 4-4 records.

Baylor's debate program is housed in the department of communication studies and is directed by Gerber and Dr. Scott Varda, who serves as associate director of debate.

The Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum at Baylor is committed to the promotion of argument and public advocacy, believing that a well-informed, articulate citizenry is crucial to the empowerment of the individual and the maintenance of a free society. Baylor's debate program supports participation in intercollegiate competition and instruction in interscholastic competition, as well as debates for the public forum.