UM Debate Ranking Rises to Fourth Place

The University of Miami Debate Team completed its competition in Policy Debate ranked fourth nationally by the American Debate Association for 2014-15, rising two spots from sixth place in 2013-14. The nationally ranked second place Novice Debate squad and the nationally ranked second place Individual Novice Debate team drove this impressive performance. UM’s Junior Varsity squad placed fifth in the nation.

Despite relying almost exclusively on students with no prior debate experience, UM’s team excels against programs with more coaches and more experienced high school debaters by relying on a squad culture where a success for one is a success for all. 

Adding to an already impressive year, UM student athletes Taylor Gadbois (football) and Michele Marenus (volleyball) advanced into the championship round of the ACC Debate Tournament, winning the Coastal Division and finishing in second place. Held April 10-12, this debate tournament, sponsored by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), was the first in decades pitting debaters from ACC member institutions against one another in an audience style debate competition. The topic for debate was Resolved: Student athletes should receive monetary compensation for participating in athletic competitions. The judging panel was comprised of expert debate judges from non-ACC institutions including The University of Georgia, The University of Kansas and Mary Washington College. The format for the debate was a policy format requiring that each debater give two timed speeches per debate and participate in two cross-examination periods. Coached by UM Director of Debate David Steinberg, Gadbois and Marenus won their preliminary debates against Duke, UNC, Pittsburgh and UVA to capture the Coastal Division and advance into the final round against Wake Forest. In a close final round, the panel of judges declared Wake the winner, but were universally impressed by the performance of the UM student athlete debaters against a field of experienced tournament debaters. Only one other student athlete entered the competition, quarterback Tyler Cameron from Wake, and only UM entered a team of two student athletes. Gadbois and Marenus received individual recognition, with trophies for third and fourth place speakers, respectively.

In another competition held on Saturday, April 18, UM Debate competed in the Trail’s End Parliamentary Debate Tournament hosted by Broward College in Davie, Florida. The tournament’s name, Trail’s End, represents the end of a long debate season. Two two-person teams represented UM in the tournament. Liam Allen-McGoran with Gabriel Rabello and Kladius Maynard with Lucas Baker both won three preliminary debates against only one loss. Based on a tiebreaker of speaker points, Lucas and Kladius were the top seed and advanced into the final round against Florida International University (FIU). There, they won a 3-0 decision over the FIU team. The final round of debate focused on the Iranian nuclear talks, and UM won by defending engagement over isolation. 

The hard work and academic excellence of UM debaters was acknowledged at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship Tournament in Wichita, Kansas, where nine members of the debate team were recognized as National Debate Scholars. These students participated in a full season of intercollegiate debate competition and maintained outrageously high GPAs. No other school outpaced UM’s five students in the Summa Cum Laude distinction. The UM students recognized were:

Summa Cum Laude (3.75 or over)

Anna Ivanova

Anna Shah

David Silverman

Kladius Maynard

Lucas Baker

Magna Cum Laude (3.5 to 3.75)

Spencer George

Cum Laude (3.25 to 3.5)

Zac Cosner

Melissa Cavell

Honorable Mention

Barbara Poudzius

The entire list can be viewed by clicking here.