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.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.