Debate team finishes year with record ninth rank


The Rutgers University Debate Union competed in the national championships this weekend, finishing the team’s most successful year.

The three-day tournament took place at the University of Maryland in College Park.

“We had seven debaters qualify for nationals, which is the most that we’ve ever had,” said Rachel Moon, the public relations chair for the team. “In total, we had 10 people compete, so that’s five teams with each being made up of two debaters.”

RUDU President Ashley Novak and former President Chris Bergman’s team placed ninth overall in the tournament out of 80 teams from schools all over the country. Another University team also placed in the top 25.

“Ashley also got 11th speaker, which is an individual speaker award, and Chris Bergman was 24th,” said Moon, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

Sean Leonard, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, also placed fifth as overall novice speaker.

The team accepts anyone who wants to join, whether they have experience or not, Moon said. Coaches train debaters on speaking and debating skills, helping them prepare for any event.

“I joined the debate team to improve my public speaking skills, and just in general debate is something that has always interested me,” she said.

She said one of the best things about being a part of the Rutgers University Debate Union is the diversity of the people group members meet and compete with.

“The experience has been amazing, and it’s definitely a different kind of college experience,” Moon said. “You are heavily involved in this style of debate we do because we travel to other states and other schools almost every weekend if you choose.”

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