Samford University debaters are ranked third in their seven-state region by the Cross Examination Debate Association and fifth in the National Debate Association’s nine-state district following a series of January tournaments.
At a University of Texas at Dallas tournament Jan. 9-11, teammates Dan Bagwell and Logan Gramzinski won five of seven preliminary rounds to advance to quarter-final competition. Their record included wins over teams from Weber State University, Baylor University and Dartmouth College. Gramzinski, a junior from Covington, Ga., was named third best overall speaker out of 242 individual competitors.
At the same tournament, the Samford team of Jayme Cloninger and Jacob Lewis beat teams from University of North Texas and Trinity University to claim four wins in preliminary rounds.
Earlier in the month, Gramzinski and Bagwell had prevailed after a 13-hour van ride to merit the Sweet 16 round at a University of North Texas tournament, held Jan. 4-7. Gramzinski was named 13th overall speaker. Bagwell, a sophomore from Damascus, Ga., was named 21st overall speaker out of 202 debaters at the tournament in Denton, Texas.
The January road trip ended with a small, but tough tournament at the University of West Georgia Jan. 15-18.
“There were only 57 teams at this tournament,” said coach Abi Williams, “but every team was nationally competitive.”
Bagwell and Gramzinski advanced to the top 16 before losing a 2-1 decision to the reigning Cross Examination Debate Association champions from Towson University. Gramzinski was named 13th best overall speaker. Bagwell was ranked 27th.
The Cloninger-Lewis team beat teams from such debate powerhouses as Emory University and Harvard University to win three preliminary rounds at the West Georgia tournament.
Samford freshman debaters Kaitlin Defoor and Robert Elliott won preliminary rounds at each of the three January tournaments, scoring victories over such schools as Rochester University, Southern Methodist University, Binghamton University and the University of Georgia.
“This year’s debate squad has consistently gotten better and is solidifying Samford’s place amongst the nation’s most competitive debate teams,” said Williams.
The squad will take a break from competition before returning to the Lone Star state Feb. 6-8 for a tournament at the University of Texas at Austin.