Baylor Debate Team Wins Season Opener Under Leadership of Award-Winning Coach

  • 2017 debate winners
    Andrew Barron, a senior political science major from Pflugerville, Texas, and Greg Zoda, a junior political science and communication double major from Nashua, New Hampshire, maintained a 7-1 record at the debate hosted by Weber State University.
  • matt gerber
    Baylor Debate team coach Matt Gerber, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and the Capp Chair of Forensics, received the 21st Annual Val Browning Director of the Year award. (Courtesy photo)
Oct. 23, 2017

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Oct. 23, 2017) – Baylor University’s Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum won first place at a recent invitation-only tournament that featured the top teams in the nation, including those from Cornell University, Rutgers University, Arizona State University, Gonzaga University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Binghamton University and University of West Georgia.

The 21st Annual Val A. Browning Round Robin was hosted Sept. 27-28 by Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Andrew Barron, a senior political science major from Pflugerville, Texas, and Greg Zoda, a junior political science and communication double major from Nashua, New Hampshire, maintained a 7-1 record at the debate. Zoda also was named the first place individual speaker.

In addition, Coach Matt Gerber, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and the Capp Chair of Forensics, was the recipient of the 21st Annual Val Browning Director of the Year award.

The Baylor team has been researching and practicing since July. This year’s topic, national health care reform, will be debated at each event until the national championship in March 2018.

“Our success at the season opener was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work throughout the entire summer,” Barron said. “We entered the tournament well prepared and managed to pick up wins against some of the best debaters in the country. We couldn't have done it without assistance from our excellent coaching staff.”

The tournament included eight preliminary rounds. After these three-hour long preliminary debates, the teams competed in elimination rounds until a winner was chosen.

The Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum is the oldest co-curricular, university-sponsored activity at Baylor, dating back to its inception in 1845. Baylor has won three national championships in debate (1975, 1987 and 1989), appeared in nine Final Fours and has had many top speakers at the National Debate Tournament. The Capp Forum is housed in the department of communication, where Gerber and head coach Dr. Scott Varda lead a team of 10 undergraduate debaters, assisted by several graduate coaches who volunteer their time and expertise to the program.

The Baylor team will compete at Gonzaga University at the end of October and at Wake Forest University in November. To learn more about the Baylor debate team, visit the Baylor Debate website.

by Brooke Battersby , 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 17,000 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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