Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-03-04

A Samford University debate team won five of six rounds at a recent regional qualifying tournament to earn a bid to the National Debate Tournament, and two squad members brought home debater of the year awards.

Teammates Logan Gramzinski and Dan Bagwell were among a field of 40 teams competing for five available national bids at the District 6/Regional Qualifying tournament in Atlanta Feb. 28-March 1. They will represent Samford in national competition in Austin, Texas, March 27-31.

That Gramzinski is a junior and Bagwell a freshman makes the achievement especially significant, says debate coach Abi Williams, since most debaters who qualify for national competition are seniors.

Their tournament record included defeating two top 25 teams from the University of Georgia and also beating teams from Vanderbilt University, Appalachian State University and the University of Florida.

Gramzinski was named regional varsity debater of the year, an honor voted by other debaters, coaches and judges in the region. He also was named second best varsity speaker in the region on the basis of points accumulated during the year.

Samford debater Jayme Cloninger was named regional junior varsity debater of the year. Ben Johnson was named regional second place junior varsity speaker.