The Abbey Debaters leave Friday evening for California.

Our Abbey Debaters, led by Emily Leber Director of Debate, continue to demonstrate their prowess in competitions across the country. Most recently the team ventured to Stockton, California for the University of Pacific Tournament, November 5 & 6.  This trip again was victorious for our spirited team.

The tournament saw 52 debate teams overall and included registration from 20 schools. Team sweepstakes for the tournament were divided into two categories for large and small schools; a third of all schools registered competed for the small school sweepstakes. Belmont Abbey College won first place in small school sweepstakes. In addition to that award, the team also carried home five other trophies.

Out of 19 novice debate teams, our team of Eric Swartz and Vincent Gillson ranked first overall after preliminary rounds, winning five of six. Eric also received an individual award for high speaker points. The novice duo went on to drop in quarterfinals on a 1-2 decision to Diablo Valley. Logan Torve and Mary Rose Stepnowski competed in a field of 33 more experienced debate teams. They won half of their preliminary rounds and earned high


Logan Torve, Vincent Gillson, Mary Rose Stepnoski and Eric Swartz

enough speaker points to advance to elimination rounds. They dropped on a 1-2 decision in octofinals to a Division I team, Rice University in Texas, that went on to debate in the final round of the tournament.

“The Belmont Abbey debaters competed against teams who make their mark on the national stage, from the University of Nevada-Reno and the University of the Pacific to Rice University and William Jewell College. Debate is a discipline which requires concise strategy, as well as prior study of theory and philosophical critiques; it demands continual critical thinking within the round.” said Leber the team’s coach. “As a coach, I can guess which arguments are most likely in round, but ultimately, it’s up to the students to advocate the role they’ve been assigned to the best of their ability. Our team competed with great patience, dedication, and perseverance. It took six rounds on six different topics to advance to elimination rounds, but each break was entertained by Vincent and Eric’s humorous interpretation of their round and Mary Rose and Logan’s predictions of which arguments were yet to come. The students make the team, and this weekend served as an opportunity for our students to showcase their outstanding potential.”