NDT Bound! IU to Send Two to The 71st Championship Tournament


Semester and Teamwide Achievements

For two consecutive years Indiana Debate will be sending two teams to represent IU Bloomington at the elite championship National Debate Tournament, the 71st annual event to be hosted by the University of Kansas at the end of March. One team representing a program at the tournament is good, two teams means IU currently rests comfortably within the top debate programs in the nation. 

Before entering the district qualification tournament, sophomore Harry Aaronson and senior Bee Smale had already secured a season-wide ranking within the top 50 teams in the nation. The two were guaranteed an at-large bid to the NDT regardless of the weekend's outcome. Kegan Ferguson and Ari Hoffman on the other hand were considered a bubble team for an at-large bid. The duo took their future into their own hands. Kegan and Ari walked away from the Michigan State University campus as District 5 champions, an IUB team first. With a solid 5-1 record, the two outlasted teams from Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State.

Debate Coach Brian DeLong says, "The win is big for the program. District 5 is historically one of the most difficult NDT districts in the nation. It takes an entire squad working together to produce a win like this. Our debaters and coaching staff work hard, averaging up to 20-hours a week preparing for these tournaments. A D5 championship will help boost our momentum as we prepare for this year's NDT." 

The D5 tournament was not the only hardware the program has acquired over the last month. IU hosted the Hoosier Invitational Tournament at the end of January. 100 competitors from seventeen universities were in attendance. Aaronson-Smale finished in 3rd place. Ferguson-Hoffman tied for 5th. Ferguson, Hoffman, and Aaronson each received top individual speaker awards. The program showed its strength in novice as well with Stanley Njuguna and Abhinav Kalyan finishing in 2nd place. Freshman-junior team of Zach Novicoff and Ben Tally just missed clearing to outrounds by a speaker point. An incredible achievement for the young team. 

When illness and the LSAT broke up partnerships for a weekend, IU had a a top team of Aaronson and Hoffman represent us at this year's Northwestern Debate Tournament in early February. The two finished 5-3 and just missed elimination debates by a few speaker points. Overall, the program is showing clear signs of dynamic strength and adaptability up and down the roster. 

What's next for the team? IU Debate will be attending the American Debate Association championship invitation during spring break followed by the National Debate Tournament March 24-27th. 

IU debate is a sponsored by IUB SPEA, IUB COAS, and IUB OVPUE.