The Samford University debate team made a highly successful showing at its largest regional tournament of the fall semester at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 19–21. That performance, coupled with its appearance in the Final Four at the Georgia State National Debate Tournament in September, earned Samford a ranking of 26th in the most recent national rankings by the Cross Examination Debate Association.
The junior varsity team of Jayme Cloninger and Josh Smith was crowned tournament champion at Vanderbilt after a unanimous 3-0 decision in the final round. The twosome defeated teams from Florida, Florida State, Kansas, Louisiana State, James Madison and Appalachian State. Smith also was recognized individually as the seventh place speaker in a competitive junior varsity division.
Samford's two varsity teams of Erin Ramsey / Logan Gramzinski and Nick Agnello / Chad Macumber also made strong showings at Vanderbilt, defeating Kentucky, Georgia, Emory, Florida and Wake Forest. Both teams posted winning records in the preliminary rounds and advanced to the Sweet 16. Gramzinski was recognized as the fifth best speaker in the highly competitive varsity division.
Samford's novice team, making its first appearance at an intercollegiate tournament, defeated Kentucky and Piedmont. In her first tournament, Ruth Woodall won the seventh place speaker award in the division.
These strong fall showings have underscored Samford's position as a team to be reckoned with at both the regional and national levels of competition.