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.