The largest contingent for Rutgers ever to attend a single APDA tournament fills two rows of the Remsen Auditorium at Johns Hopkins University. Novice team awards are prominently displayed. Left to right: Chris Baia, Deepta Janardhan, Ashley Novak, Maxwell Williams, Storey Clayton, Gordon Morrisette, Arbi Llaveshi, Zeshan Khan, Basil Alomary, Sean Leonard, Meryem Uzumcu, Kurt Falk, Rachel Moon, Alex Jubb, Bhargavi Sriram, Chris Bergman, Akash Mitra, Henry Phipps, Oscar Abella, Russell Potter, Shreyas Jaganmohan, Kira Kaur, Adam Bomeisl, Sahil Bambulkar, Quinn Maingi, and Riti Khamgaonkar. (Not pictured: Shireen Hamza, Stephen Yellin.)

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) took a school record thirteen teams to the Johns Hopkins University debate tournament this past weekend, the first of the 2012-2013 season. The novices, newly trained in two recent retreats, led the way with two top-five finishes spearheaded by Sean Leonard and Meryem Uzumcu’s novice semifinal victory en route to a 2nd place finish.

Meanwhile, four varsity teams went 4-1 or 3-2 while losing only to the top eight breaking teams during in-rounds. A fifth varsity team was one of the better speaking teams of the entire tournament, led by Ashley Novak, who missed a 10th varsity speaker finish on a tiebreaker.

Here are the official results for RUDU at JHU 2012:
Sean Leonard & Meryem Uzumcu – 2nd Novice Team
Sahil Bambulkar & Kira Kaur – 5th Novice Team
Sean Leonard – 5th Novice Speaker

Next weekend will be the first of many “split” weekends anticipated this year, wherein Rutgers sends teams to both tournaments on the schedule. In this instance, William & Mary and Smith are on the horizon. This is possibly the first time RUDU has ever sent teams to Smith. Last year, the fall William & Mary tournament brought two quarterfinal appearances for RUDU.

This is the third consecutive year of RUDU appearing in the novice semifinals at Hopkins, but its first year ever in the novice finals. In each of the prior two years, RUDU placed novice speakers in the top ten. At least one of those speakers in each year went on to finish in the top three in the annual Novice of the Year (NOTY) rankings. The NOTY season does not officially begin until October, after completion of the novice-only tournaments at Swarthmore and Boston University.

There’s still plenty of time to get involved in RUDU if you’re a Rutgers student. The next team meeting is at 9:00 PM on Tuesday, September 11th, in Murray Hall room 210.