RUDU Goes to Albany and Closes Out; Sets Historic Records

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The team poses victoriously outside of a Cracker Barrel in Albany, NY, following their triumph

Even though the Rutgers Debate Union wasn’t able to attend NorthAms in Ontario last week due to inclement weather, the successes of last weekend’s tournament at University at Albany, SUNY on January 29 and 30 certainly compensated for whatever feelings of regret or disappointment that our members were perhaps harboring. For the first time in Rutgers history, our debaters closed out the tournament: Top Varsity Team went to Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19, who are two novices and our current President and Vice President respectively. Second place went to Sean Leonard ’16 and Nick Hansen ’16, the former holders of the aforementioned offices. Our worthy competitors were from Swarthmore (beat four times!), Dartmouth, Brandeis, Yale (beat twice!), and many other universities. The Temkin-Albert feat is especially exceptional when considering that they, being a novice team, triumphed over actual varsity teams by attaining the title of Top Varsity Team, and are now tied for Fourth Top Team in the country! This is the first time in APDA (American Parliamentary Debate Association) history that a novice team has ever made the top ten for varsity. Rutgers has also risen to 6th College of the Year (still being the only public school in the top ten), following a lead ahead of Stanford, American, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins.  More information on current rankings can be seen here.

Our complete rankings at University of Albany, SUNY:

  • Top Varsity Team: Pasha Temkin* ’18 and Max Albert ’19*
  • Second Varsity Team: Sean Leonard ’16 and Nick Hansen ’16
  • Second Varsity Speaker: Pasha Temkin ’18*
  • Third Varsity Speaker: Sean Leonard ’16
  • Ninth Varsity Speaker: Max Albert ’19*
  • Top Novice Team: Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19
  • Top Novice Speaker: Max Albert ’19
  • Second Novice Speaker: Pasha Temkin ’18

 * signifies a novice getting a varsity award

Also debating at the tournament were Treasurer Larry Feltz ’17 and Jeremy “Jimmy” Kritz ’19, and PR Chair Andrea Vacchiano ’19 with David Vlnarov ’19. Judging with us was our new novice, David Blanco ’18. RUDU was also delightfully reunited with our former President, Quinn Maingi ’15, at the tournament.

This past weekend was an excellent way to wrap things up before we host our own tournament on February 5 and 6. We are looking forward to hosting an APDA meeting and will be expecting over 100 teams!

RUDU Goes to CMU: Leonard continues his winning streak, Temkin and Albert climb from novice to varsity!

Classes start again this Tuesday at Rutgers, and members of the debate union spent their last weekend of winter break competing at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Debating at the tournament were Sean Leonard ’16, Naeem Hossain ’18, Pasha Temkin ’18, Elise Zhou ’18 and Max Albert ’19. Larry Feltz ’17 also came along to judge rounds.

Our President and Vice President, Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19, performed remarkably as a novice team, having an impeccable record of 5 – 0 before breaking and making it to quarter finals. Temkin ’18 was awarded 3rd Novice Speaker and Albert ’19 was named 4th Novice Speaker. They both performed so well that they moved up to the varsity level and were named 7th Varsity Speaker and 10th Varsity Speaker, respectively!

Just like last week, Leonard ’16 outperformed at the tournament and placed as Top Varsity Speaker! He also paired up with Geneva Kropper from University of Maryland and together they conquered the final rounds and placed as Top Varsity Team of the tournament!

Finally, Hossain ’18 and Zhou ’18 also had an admirable record of 3 – 2! RUDU had a great tournament, congratulations to all of the debaters at Rutgers and the other schools! Next weekend, a few of our members are crossing the US/Canadian border to debate at the North American Championships Tournament at Queens College in Kingston, Ontario. This is a very prestigious gathering of debaters and there is no doubt that RUDU deserves to be there.

In addition, RUDU will have a spot at the Spring Involvement Fair this Monday at the College Avenue Gym from 1pm to 4pm. Feel free to join us!

RUDU Goes to CUNY: Sean Leonard Takes the Entire Tournament!

Last weekend, members of the Rutgers University Debate Team took time out of their winter break to compete at City University of New York. Debating at the tournament were Sean Leonard ’16, Pasha Temkin ’18, and Max Albert ’19. RUDU alumnus, George Alukal ’15, also came to support the team.

Leonard ’16 won the entire tournament by winning first place as Varsity Team with Eric Tannenbaum from TCNJ and getting first-place for Varsity Speaker! He continues to make Rutgers proud with his achievements.

Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19 also conquered the novice division by placing as the third best Novice Team! Individually, they were ranked 6th Novice Speaker and 7th Novice Speaker, respectively.

Congratulations to all of the debaters! Next weekend, the team will be going to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

RUDU in Finals at Maryland!

This past weekend, the Rutgers debate team had a great time competing at the beautiful University of Maryland. Debating at the tournament were Sean Leonard ’16, Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19, Mohammad Arif ’19, and Adarsh Rangan ’19. The team also sent two judges, Jamie DiVito ’16 and Elise Zhou ’18.

Every RUDU team that attended the tournament made it to out rounds, as Arif ’19 and Rangan ’19 broke to novice out rounds while Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19 broke to varsity out rounds despite being novices. Arif ’19 and Rangan ’19 made it to novice finals while Leonard ’16 went on to compete in the final varsity round of the tournament.

Individually, Leonard ’16 was third varsity speaker, Temkin ’18 was second novice speaker, and Albert ’19 was fifth novice speaker.

Congratulations to all of the debaters! This weekend, the team goes into NYC to compete at Fordham University.

RUDU Goes to Harvard; Temkin Wins Top Novice!

This past weekend, RUDU visited Harvard University in Boston and competed at a motions tournament. At a motions tournament, all of the topics are chosen by the host school before the start of each debate and everyone competing at the tournament debates the same resolution. Team preparation is not allowed and each round allots 15 minutes of preparation time for the teams to gather their best arguments.

Representing Rutgers Debate were varsity Sean Leonard ’16, Vidhaath Sripathi ’17, and novices Mohammad Arif ’18 and Mahaksh Kotdawala ’18, and Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19. Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19 broke into novice out rounds and finished the tournament as top and third novice speaker respectively. Following this success, Temkin ’18 is currently top Novice of the Year and Albert ’19 is second Novice of the Year. Congratulations to all participating debaters!

Next week, RUDU will be debating at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

RUDU Takes Top Varsity and Novice Speaker at Vassar!

This past weekend, RUDU had a very successful weekend in Vassar College in New York. Attending teams included Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19, Jeremy Kritz ’19 and Adarsh Rangan ’19, and Sean Leonard ’16 hybrid with Geneva Kropper from University of Maryland.

Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19 placed as third novice team and Kritz ’19 and Rangan ’19 placed as fourth novice team. Leonard ’16 hybrid with Kropper placed as second varsity team.

Individually, RUDU performed extremely well, placing Albert ’19 as top novice speaker, Temkin ’18 as second novice speaker, Kritz ’19 as third novice speaker, and Rangan ’19 as tenth novice speaker. Leonard ’16 was top varsity speaker. With these historic rankings, RUDU currently holds the positions of top Speaker of the Year (Leonard ’16), top Novice of the Year (Albert ’19), second Novice of the Year (Temkin ’18), and third Novice of the Year (Kritz ’19).

Congratulations to everyone for their achievements! This weekend, RUDU visits Harvard for a special motions tournament, where each round will have a topic dictated by the host school.

RUDU Goes to Swat Novice!

Last month, RUDU sent four teams to Swarthmore for a novice tournament. As the name suggests, the tournament is hosted specifically to introduce novices to APDA debate. All of the participating teams are exclusively novices as the varsity takes a back seat judging and cheering them on.

Attending the tournament were Pasha Temkin ’18 and Mohammad Arif ’18, Adarsh Rangan ’19 and Nick Pellitta ’19, Daniel Ferioli ’19 and Rahul Flaego ’19, and Max Albert ’19 and Jeremy Kritz ’19. Albert ’19 and Kritz ’19 pair placed fourth team overall and Temkin ’18 placed as third Novice Speaker. Congratulations to all the novices and look forward to seeing them around this season!

RUDU Wins Novice Rounds at Columbia!

This past weekend, the Rutgers University Debate Union visited New York City and brought home great success. The team sent four teams, including Sean Leonard ’16 and Nick Hansen ’16, Elise Zhou ’18 and Larry Feltz ’17, and novices Pasha Temkin ’18 and Max Albert ’19, and Mohammad Arif’18 and Mahaksh Kotdawala ’18.

Both novice teams performed extremely well as Temkin ’18 and Albert ’19 won the novice section of the tournament and Arif ’18 and Kotdawala ’18 made it to semifinals. Despite this being their first year on the circuit, Kotdawala ’18 was top novice speaker, Arif ’18 was 4th novice, and Albert ’19 was 7th novice. Varsity team Leonard ’16 and Hansen ’16 placed as 9th team overall and Leonard ’16 placed as 4th speaker. Congratulations to all the new and returning members on their success!

Next week RUDU will be attending a special tournament at Swarthmore College, where all the competing debaters will be novices.

RUDU Kicks Off the Season at Hopkins

This past weekend, the Rutgers University Debate Union ushered in the 2015-2016 season with great success at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

Returning team members Sean Leonard ’16, Nick Hansen ’16, Pasha Temkin ’18, and Naeem Hossain ’18 paired respectively. Leonard ’16 and Hansen ’16 broke into quarterfinals and finished the tournament as 5th Team of the Year while Temkin ’18 returned as 1st Novice Speaker. Leonard ’16 also placed as 6th Speaker overall. Congratulations to all the members and look forward to another great season!

This weekend, RUDU is taking a long drive to compete at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

RUDU’s 2015 Graduating Class

Top row, left to right: George Alukal, Shireen Hamza, Quinn Maingi Bottom row, left to right: Rachel Moon, Minnal Kunnan, Russell Potter
Top row, left to right: George Alukal, Shireen Hamza, Quinn Maingi
Bottom row, left to right: Rachel Moon, Minnal Kunnan, Russell Potter

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) would like to congratulate and recognize it’s 2015 outgoing senior class: George Alukal, Shireen Hamza, Minnal Kunnan, Quinn Maingi, Rachel Moon, and Russell Potter. Each senior recognized here debated for RUDU for at least one tournament in the 2014-2015 season, with most of them debating in previous years as underclassmen.


George Alukal
Hailing from Hillsborough, George joined RUDU in 2013 as a sophomore. While on the team, he served as Novice Mentor in 2014. His debate successes include breaking to varsity out-rounds at Carnegie Mellon (2015) and ranking as one of the top 5 novice teams at the NYU Invitational (2014). After graduation, George will be joining Chase bank in their risk management division. One of his biggest causes while on RUDU was the removal of all laws, but only during evening hours.


Shireen Hamza
Shireen joined RUDU in 2011 as a freshman. She found success soon into her novice career, ranking as the 4th highest speaking novice at UPenn (2011) and going 4-1 at Swarthmore Novice (2011), the best record of all RUDU teams at that tournament. Shireen was heavily involved in the Rutgers and New Brunswick communities. She was a founding member of Food for Thought, a group meant to foster dialogue between residents of New Brunswick through the sharing of free and nutritious meals, and an active member of Verbal Mayhem, Rutgers’ slam poetry team. After graduation, Shireen will begin doctoral studies at Harvard University in the history of science. She is an avid mountain hiker, with a greater affinity for hiking up than hiking down.


Minnal Kunnan
Minnal joined RUDU this year while on an exchange program with Rutgers from his home university of Cal Poly. Despite being new to American Parliamentary debate, Minnal was able to utilize his past experience on the BP, CEDA, and NPDA circuits to break multiple times, including a tournament win at Swarthmore ProAms (2015). In addition, he had success on the NOTY board, finishing as 20th NOTY (2015) and winning 1st Novice Speaker at Vassar (2014). After leaving RUDU, he will finish his 5 year computer science program at Cal Poly. A proud Californian, Minnal arrived at Rutgers during the start of NJ’s brutal 2014-2015 winter without a coat of any kind and a single pair of flip flops.


Quinn Maingi
Quinn joined RUDU in 2011 at the urging of his high school friend and RUDU President emeritus Chris Bergman. He is leaving the team as the most successful debater in RUDU history. Quinn’s debate accomplishments include finaling at Nationals (2014), back-to-back Nationals semis appearances (2014-2015), 4th TOTY (2015), 5th SOTY (2015), 3rd NOTY (2012), and 10 career final round appearances (2011-2015). Quinn also served the team as President (2014) and Treasurer (2013). After graduation, Quinn will work at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. When not debating, Quinn can be seen fraternizing with his stuffed animals and a pet cactus he named “Cobos”.


Rachel Moon
Rachel Moon, colloquially referred to as “Moon”, joined RUDU in 2012 as a freshman. Moon broke to several varsity out-rounds while on RUDU, including a final-round appearance at the University at Albany (2014). Moon also served as the Public Relations Chair of RUDU in 2013. Rachel was active throughout the Rutgers community, serving as the chairwoman of the RUSA allocations board and as a Gardner Fellow. After graduation, Moon will be moving to Pueblo, Colorado as a Teach for America corps member. Her enthusiasm for most things is eclipsed by her enthusiasm for spaghetti.


Russell Potter
Russell joined RUDU in 2011 as a freshman. Since then, Russell has racked up many debate successes to his name, such as 16th TOTY (2013) and tournament wins at Vassar (2012) and Dartmouth (2014). In 2015, Russell served as Tournament Director of the largest tournament ever held by RUDU. After graduation, Russell hopes to pursue a career in business and coach debate. Over the span of his debate career, he has come up with approximately 72,673 case ideas and counting.


Congratulations to the graduating and outgoing RUDU class of 2015! We appreciate everything you all have contributed to the team and look forward to seeing what you all will accomplish as alumni of the Rutgers University Debate Union.