Baylor Debate Team Qualifies For National Championships

News Photo 5066
Baylor University's nationally ranked debate team, the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum, posted 6-2 records at the District 3 tournament widely considered the toughest debate district in the country and qualified for the national championships, to be held in Dallas later this month. Front row (L to R) - John Cook, Ashley Morgan, Amanda Luppes (graduate assistant coach) and Nathan Ford. Back row (L to R) - Dr. Matt Gerber (director), Alex McVey (graduate assistant coach), Kyle Vint (graduate assistant coach), Kendall Kaut, and Dr. Scott Varda (associate director).
March 15, 2011

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Despite fielding one of its youngest teams in several years, Baylor University's nationally ranked debate team, the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum, posted a 6-2 record at the District 3 tournament - widely considered the toughest debate district in the country - and qualified for the national championships in Dallas March 25-28.

The District 3 championships were held Feb. 25-28 at Wichita State University.

The team of John Cook, a junior international studies major from Olathe, Kan., and Ashley Morgan, a junior international studies major from Omaha, Neb., defeated teams from Kansas State University, the University of Texas at Dallas, Emporia State University and Wichita State on their way to a fourth-place finish.

The team of Kendall Kaut, a sophomore political science major from Olathe, Kan., and Nathan Ford, a junior economics and international studies major from Corsicana, defeated teams from the University of Texas at Austin, SMU, Kansas State, UT-Dallas and Missouri State on their way to a fifth-place finish.

As a member of last year's veteran Baylor team that won the District 3 championship, Cook was the only Baylor debater with experience competing at the district level, a mentally grueling "marathon" that includes eight three-hour debates in a single weekend. Cook and his former debate partner Alex McVey, now a graduate assistant debate coach, posted a 7-1 record to win the tournament last season.

"For having such a young team, I am very pleased with placing fourth and fifth and for each team winning six out of eight debates," said Dr. Scott J. Varda, assistant professor of communication studies and associate director of the Baylor debate program. "It is the first time since 1993 that Baylor has had two debate teams qualify for nationals through the District tournament, which speaks both to the overall difficulty of the tournament and to the strength and depth of our current team."

Dr. Matthew G. Gerber, associate professor of communication communication studies and director of Baylor's Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum, said the team looks forward to competing at nationals.

"With the national debate tournament (NDT) being held in Dallas, we feel like it's kind of our home turf, and we won't have to travel far to compete, which is nice," Gerber said.

Baylor won the national debate championship in 1975, 1987 and again in 1989. Baylor debate has made it to the "Final Four" an additional nine times, most recently in 1996 under the direction of Dr. Karla Leeper, who now serves as chief of staff to Baylor President Ken Starr.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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