Rutgers debaters celebrate their first final round in months with the T-shirts they won at AU. Left to right: Ashley Novak, Shelley Friedman, Jason Boyle, Nisha Kumar, Kurt Falk, Chris Bergman, Arbi Llaveshi, Bhargavi Sriram, Asher Wasserman, Quinn Maingi, Kyle Bomeisl, Adam Bomeisl, Alex Jubb, Storey Clayton, Henry Phipps, Russell Potter, and Dave Reiss.

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) celebrated the two-year anniversary of their first break of the modern era with their 39th varsity break, riding this one all the way to a narrow 3-2 loss in the final round. Besting 85 of the 86 other teams competing, Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi both qualified for Nationals with the stellar performance, cruising to victory in quarterfinals and winning a nailbiter in semifinals for the first final round appearance for Rutgers since Farhan Ali made finals at Middlebury in January. Bergman was part of the “pro-am” (varsity/novice) team that broke for Rutgers at American University in 2009 two years ago, then with Dave Reiss as a junior/freshman partnership. This time he was the junior in the same-age partnership, demonstrating that Rutgers’ talent is continuing to grow.

Here are the official accomplishments logged at AU:
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 2nd Team
Quinn Maingi – 6th Novice Speaker
Russell Potter – 8th Novice Speaker

The performance puts RUDU firmly back in the top ten in the country, currently ranked 9th just behind the University of Chicago and just ahead of Dartmouth and Princeton. The full standings can be found here.

Meanwhile, Russell Potter’s performance puts him on the Novice of the Year (NOTY) board, making him RUDU’s team-record fifth entrant to the NOTY rankings with three weeks to go in the first semester. Maingi dropped to fifth NOTY this week despite his great performance, while Potter debuts at 35th. Rutgers is tied with Yale for the most entrants on the currently 39-speaker NOTY Board, each team carrying about 13% of the nation’s top first-year debaters.

Rutgers carries serious momentum and a slate of ten teams into another competition in Washington DC this weekend, this time debating at George Washington University.