Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-03-13

Two Samford University teams are headed to the National Debate Tournament--the "big dance" of college debate--and their coach is the recipient of a top regional award.

Samford debaters Nick Agnello, Clark Bowers, Erin Ramsey and John Wilkerson qualified for national competition after placing among the top eight teams at a district tournament held at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga., March 4-5.

Teammates Agnello and Bowers finished the regional tournament ranked fourth of the 40 two-person teams in competition. Bowers was ranked fourth best debater out of the 80 individual competitors.

The Samford duo of Ramsey and Wilkerson were ranked seventh best team at the tournament.

Samford debate coach Ben Coulter was voted "critic of the year" by student debaters from the southeast central region. The honor is based on his fairness and performance as a judge during tournaments throughout the year.

The national tournament will be at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., March 23-28. The natio's top 78 two-person teams will continue debating this year's national debate topic, U.S. foreign policy with China.

Agnello is a sophomore political science major from Snellville, Ga.

Bowers is a junior political science major from Sylacauga.

Ramsey is a freshman political science major from Peachtree City, Ga.

Wilkerson is a junior history major from Macon, Ga.

This is the second consecutive year that two Samford teams have advanced to the national competition.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.