By David L. Steinberg

On the wave of another outstanding tournament performance at Vanderbilt this weekend, The University of Miami Debate Team has moved up to No. 8 in the National Debate Tournament Rankings, up from No. 11 in the previous ranking.  UM currently leads traditional powerhouses Northwestern, Harvard, Vanderbilt, Emory, and more than 100 other schools.  We trail only No. 5 Wake Forest in the Southeast region.  UM is ranked No. 11 in the Cross Examination Debate Association rankings.  Both rankings reward points based on ballots won across all divisions of debate.  UM is helped by the size of its team, with 26  students already representing the University in intercollegiate debate competition.  

Three UM teams competed from Nov. 1 to 3 at Vanderbilt University.   With wins over Florida State, Georgia State, Indiana, Butler, West Georgia, Appalachian State, Florida and Georgia, all three teams advanced into the award rounds.  The UM team of Ana Ivanova and Xingkai Liu debated West Georgia in the “Sweet Sixteen,” but ended their tournament with a loss. Michael Fuentes and Renee Reneau defeated Georgia State in the round of 16 on a 3-0 decision, before falling to Florida in quarterfinals.  Barbara Puodzius and Ashley Park earned a bye into the quarterfinals thanks to their 4-2 preliminary record and high seed.  In quarters, they sent West Georgia home on a 3-0 decision before falling to Florida in semifinals.  UM debaters also placed in the speaker awards based on their individual scores, with Renee 12th, Michael 13th, Ashley 16th, Anna 17th, and Barbara 19th.

The U will seek to maintain its ranking at the Appalachian State Debate Tournament on November 16-18 at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

On Saturday, October 26, the UM Debate Team competed in the Voice Matters Parliamentary Debate Tournament hosted by Miami-Dade College, Kendall.  Although parliamentary debate does not count toward the national rankings, it is an excellent preparation for the evidence-based policy debate in which we usually compete.  UM teams wound up ranked 2-5.  At that tournament, the UM teams of Adrianne and Anna Shah and Liam Allen-McGoran and Nate Dong were both 2-1.  Anna and Adrianne advanced into the semifinal round to debate FIU.  Also representing UM were COS 377 student debate teams Emily Beltt and Libby Jacobson, who were also 2-1, and David Capelli and Giovanni Bisignani, who were 3-0 and debated FIU in finals, losing a split 2-1 decision.  The teams were coached at the tournament by UM debaters Joe Karam and Ken Yu, and alumna Jennifer Melendez. 

The UM Debate Team is directed by David L. Steinberg and Patrick Waldinger, and coached by Assistant Randall Martinez.  Participation is open to all UM Undergraduate students.  More information at