Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-10-09

A Samford University junior varsity debate team that included a competitor in her first college tournament finished a prestigious third at a recent Georgia State University national debate tournament.

Debaters Josh Smith of Birmingham and Jayme Cloninger of Denver, N.C., completed preliminary rounds with a 5-1 record to advance to the elimination rounds. It was freshman Cloninger's first intercollegiate debate tournament.

In the quarter-final round, the pair won every ballot on a three-judge panel to defeat reigning community college national champions from Kansas City Community College.

Samford's two varsity teams finished the tournament with a preliminary record of four wins and four losses, narrowly missing advancement to the elimination rounds. The varsity squad includes senior Nick Agnello of Snellville, Ga., junior Chad Macumber of Flora, Miss., sophomore Logan Gramzinski of Covington, Ga., and junior Erin Ramsey of Peachtree City, Ga.

The season-opening tournament was in Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 22-24.

Ryan Galloway is Samford director of debate. Abi Williams is debate coach.

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.