While most students enjoyed their spring breaks away from their regular academic pursuits, members of the Indiana University’s debate team engaged in heated deliberation near Washington D.C. at the 30th annual American Debate Associations National Championship Tournament. The Hoosiers returned to Bloomington triumphant with hardware in hand, winning a 5th overall placing.
IU was represented by six debaters on three teams, two in the open division and one in junior varsity. The two open teams were fierce competitors, with both qualifying to elimination debates after six preliminary rounds of competition. Seniors Bee Smale and Ari Hoffman were IU’s top competitors, winning five of their six preliminary debates, a record that secured the 5th overall seed in the elimination bracket. After beating Wayne State in the sweet sixteen, IU Smale and Hoffman dropped on a close 2-1 decision to the University of Georgia in the elite eight. Junior Nick Gallina and Senior Kegan Ferguson also broke to the sweet sixteen.
Coach Brian DeLong stated, “This is a product of the entire team’s vigilance and work ethic. Collectively we have pushed our program into the top echelons of national competitiveness. This year we have shown time and again that we can be competitive in any debate against any team in the nation. Two teams in elimination debates at a national championship just reflects what we prepared for and what Indiana can produce.”
The performance is notable for Indiana University, after attending the tournament several times over the past few years, this is the first-time IU debaters have broken in the open division at a National Championship Tournament.
Nick Gallina commented, “The ADA tournament brought out all levels of the IU debate team. Our seniors came through as leaders. The freshmen had a strong showing, they have an eagerness to improve. It feels great setting a new bar for the team as we close out this chapter and head into next year.”
Collectively IU debate scored wins against teams from: Wake Forest, Michigan State, Minnesota, Emory, Kentucky, US Naval Academy, Samford, James Madison, Liberty University, Wayne State.
The IU debate team has one last tournament of the year, the 71st annual National Debate Tournament at the University of Kansas. Two teams of Bee Smale and Harry Aaronson and Kegan Ferguson and Ari Hoffman will represent Indiana March 24-27th.