American Debate Association National Championships, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia, 3/14-16

On Sunday March 16th, the UM Novice Debate Team of Barbara Puodzius and Anna Ivanova advanced to the final round of the American Debate Association National Championships tournament hosted by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. In route to the championship round, Barbara and Anna compiled a 4-2 record in the preliminary rounds, scoring wins over Liberty University, Vanderbilt, Boston College and James Madison. They defeated a team from George Mason University in the round of 16, before facing the top George Mason team in quarterfinals. UM gave GMU only their 2nd loss in 20 debates, advancing into a semifinal match with rival Wake Forest. UM won that debate as well, advancing into a final round debate with the other Wake Forest team. UM lost a close 2-1 decision in finals, but their names will be engraved on the permanent American Debate Association trophy as 2014 finalists.

In the Junior Varsity division, David Silverman and Spencer George rolled through the preliminary debates, earning a 6-0 record and top seed. As top seed, they earned a bye into the semifinals, where they were unfortunately upset by George Mason on a split decision.

Also competing at the tournament for UM, and contributing significantly to the team’s success were Michael Fuentes and Renee Reneau.

National JV/Novice Debate Tournament, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, 3/8-10

At the National JV/Novice Debate Tournament, the UM Novice Team of Barbara Puodzius and Ashley Park won 5 of their 7 preliminary debates to advance as the seventh seed into elimination rounds making it into the quarterfinals. Their record included wins over The University of Rochester, Liberty, and Capital University of Ohio. In the octofinals, UM won a 3-0 decision against the US Military Academy, but were upset in the quarterfinals by The University of West Virginia. Also representing UM was the team of Anna Ivanova and Anna Shah. This team had a winning record winning 4 of 7 debates, but missing the elimination rounds by one place (they were the 17th seed; top 16 advance).  They defeated West Virginia, CUNY, John Carroll, and Capital.

Spencer George and David Silverman competed in Junior Varsity, winning debates against NYU, Cornell and James Madison.

National Rankings

On the strength of these successes and a great year, UM Debate is ranked 17th Nationally by the Cross Examination Debate Association, third in the Southeast Region. With 106 points, this is the best finish by a UM Team in almost 20 years.

The UM Debate Team is Directed by David Steinberg and Patrick Waldinger, with help from graduate assistant coach Randall Martinez,  and is housed in the School of Communication. Participation is open to any UM undergraduate student.  New members are now being accepted for next year’s team. Interested students may contact Professor Steinberg at or Professor Waldinger at