Baylor Debate Team Wins District 3 Championship; Will Represent University at National Debate Tournament

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Baylor's 2009 debate team: (Front row) Amanda Luppes, Chris Rooney, Dustin Greenwalt, John Cook, Ryan Smith, Alex McVey, Mike Weitz. (Back Row) Nate Ford, Grant Nelson, Zack Wagner, Dr. Scott Varda, Dr. Matt Gerber, Reynolds Patterson.
March 2, 2010

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Members of the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum, Baylor University's nationally ranked debate team, captured the District 3 championship over the weekend, with senior debater Alex McVey earning recognition as tournament's top individual speaker.

The district tournament was held Feb. 26-28 at the University of Texas at Dallas. Baylor's debate team will now head to the National Debate Tournament, which will be held March 18-23 at the University of California at Berkeley.

Baylor defeated teams from seven other universities on the way to the District 3 title. McVey, a senior Spanish and international studies major from Olathe, Kan., and John Cook, a junior international studies major from Winfield, Kan., led the charge by posting a 7-1 record. McVey and Cook defeated teams from Kansas State, Trinity, UT-Dallas, Central Oklahoma and Wichita State, and collected wins against both teams from the University of Texas. In addition to McVey's recognition, Cook garnered third place individual speaker honors.

"John and Alex are both naturally great speakers," said Dr. Matt Gerber, director of Baylor's debate program.

"And they are both world-class researchers, which makes them a dangerous debate team to tangle with," added Dr. Scott Varda, associate director of Baylor's debate program.

Cook and McVey will be joined at the National Debate Tournament by their teammates, Chris Rooney, a senior speech communications major from Round Rock, and Amanda Luppes, a senior international studies major from Apple Valley, Minn.

While the university routinely has success at the District tournament, the Baylor debate team hadn't won an outright District championship since 1993, Gerber said. The university has a long history of success in intercollegiate debate, with three national championships and nine appearances in the NDT Final Four. The debate program at Baylor dates back to the 1850s and boasts alumni, such as the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards.

Members of the debate team typically spend more than 40 hours per week preparing for tournaments, and represent Baylor across the nation at competitions that run from September to March of each year. The debate team also is coached by four graduate students from Baylor's department of communication studies, who volunteer to travel and help out with the team.

For more information, contact Gerber at (254) 710-6917 or

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

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