Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-01-16

Outstanding showings during a recent "Texas Two Step" tournament swing have made Samford University debaters the top-ranked collegiate squad in the South East Central region and 35th in the nation.

Samford varsity debaters Dan Bagwell and Logan Gramzinski competed through double octa-finals at a University of North Texas tournament that featured 102 teams from across the nation.

Gramzinski was named 17th speaker out of more than 200 individual debaters, and Bagwell was named 24th speaker at the tournament, held Jan. 5-7.

Samford junior varsity debaters Jacob Lewis and Ben Johnson advanced to the semi-finals of their competition at North Texas, with Johnson ranked 7th speaker amongst competing debaters.

In the second leg of the Two Step, at the University of Texas at Dallas, Bagwell and Gramzinski advanced to octa-finals after dominating a more experienced Baylor University team in double octa-finals. Bagwell was named 12th best speaker of the 230 debaters, claiming the title of highest ranked freshman at the tournament, held Jan. 9-11. Gramzinski was named 24th speaker.

Lewis teamed with Jayme Cloninger to defeat the tournament's top-seeded team from the University of Oklahoma in a decisive 3-0 victory in the quarter final round of JV competition. The Oklahoma team had earlier won first place at the North Texas JV tournament.

"Their crushing defeat of Oklahoma was the talk of the tournament," Samford debate coach Abii Williams said of the JV debaters. The Samford debaters were "giant killers" in the debate world, said Williams.

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.