Students Represent UMW in National Debate Tournament

By SHANNON STOREY

Four members of the University of Mary Washington debate team represented UMW in this year’s National Debate Tournament at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., placing twenty-third overall.

The tournament was held on Thursday, March 29 through Monday, April 2.

Sophomores Patrick McCleary, Colin McElhinny, and Thomas Pacheco and senior Peter Susko competed in the event.

“This year’s squad was younger as a whole than in recent prior years, but what we lacked in years of experience, we have more than made up for in enthusiasm and effort, said UMW Debate Team Coach Adrienne Brovero.

This year, McCleary, McElhinny, Susko and Pacheco competed against 78 other teams.

“We anticipated both teams had a good shot at qualifying, but obviously each debate comes down to how we execute in the round, so we try to avoid overconfidence,” said Brovero.

In the preliminary rounds, which spanned over three days, Susko and Pacheco emerged with a two-six record.

McCleary and Mc Elhinny garnered five wins and gave up only three losses, placing them at the twenty-third seed going into the elimination rounds.

“The competition at the NDT was intense, as always,” recalled Brovero. “There were more split decisions during the competition than in recent memory.”

Split decisions occur when there is a two-to-one decision between the judges. However, elimination rounds have either five or seven judges, allowing more variation in splits.

In the first bracket round, McCleary and McElhinny faced the tournament’s tenth seed, Baylor University. Although Baylor came out on top, McCleary and McElhinny took twenty-third in the tournament overall.

“While we aim high, and there is always room for improvement, we were very pleased with Colin and Patrick’s performance. They have been consistently improving over the last two years,” said Brovero.

McCleary and McElhinny secured a spot in the tournament after placing second in the district seven, or Mid-Atlantic, qualifying tournament, which occurred at UMW in Feb.

Susko and Pacheco placed eighth in the same tournament, which UMW hosted last February.

“UMW Debate is very proud of its recent competitive accomplishments,” said Brovero. “In the past few years, we have become regular elimination round participants, and we are poised to make additional competitive advancements next year.”

The National Debate Tournament started in 1947 at the United States Military Academy and is now hosted annually. Over the course of the tournament’s 66-year history, UMW’s debate team participated 16 times and finished third place in 2010.

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