Baylor Debate Team Earns National Ranking

debate team
1st Row, L to R: Alaina Walberg (So.), Sarah Evans (Jr.) 2nd Row, L to R: Sam Gustavson (So.), Jeff Roberts (asst. coach), Kristiana Baez (asst. coach), Thayer Walmsley (Jr.) 3rd Row, L to R: Trevor Reddick (asst. coach), Andrew Barron (Jr.), Jeff Nagel (asst. coach), Greg Zoda (So.), Kanan Boor (Sr.) 4th Row: Dr. Gerber (Director), Dr. Varda (Director), Simon Sheaff (Jr.), Alden Conner (Fr.)
April 27, 2016

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Contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (April 27, 2016) – Baylor University's intercollegiate debate team, known as the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum, just completed its 2015-16 season with a top 20 national ranking. The team also qualified three smaller groups of two members each to compete at the National Debate Tournament (NDT).

Each school can qualify up to three teams of two students each for the NDT. This year is the first time Baylor has qualified three teams since 1996.

"We have a deep squad this year," said Matt Gerber, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and director of debate. "We have lots of talent across the board, which is the way we plan it from a recruitment standpoint. Baylor was nationally dominant in debate in the late 1980s and 1990s, and we are once again reaching those top levels of success. To qualify three teams for the NDT, on the 20-year anniversary of the last time we did that at Baylor, is really a unique and special thing to be a part of."

Only five other colleges in the nation qualified three teams for the NDT: Harvard University, Emory University, University of Kentucky, University of Kansas and University of Texas.

The NDT was held March 30 to April 4 at Binghamton University in New York.

The three teams that represented Baylor were senior Kanan Boor and sophomore Greg Zoda, both political science majors; Sarah Evans, a junior Business Fellows and economics major with Sam Gustavson, a sophomore communication studies major; and junior political science major Andrew Barron and freshman communications studies major Alden Conner.

These students have been preparing for the tournament since July of 2015.

"We start in the summer when the topic gets released, and so we've been working on this since the middle of July, researching and practicing," Gerber said. "It's very intense. Each team has eight three-hour preliminary debates, so 24 hours of debate, before even making the final rounds. It is rigorous and a lot of work. During their season, which is from September to March, the students practice 20 to 30 hours a week, sometimes more."

Most of this year's team and coaching staff will return for next year's season, so the debaters and coaches hope to have an even more successful 2016-17 season.

"It's a cooperative work effort and we are a family, and I think that family atmosphere accounts for their success more than anything else," Gerber said. "I'm very proud of them."

by Jenna Press, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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