The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) was on the verge of a breakout performance at the University of Pennsylvania this weekend, getting no fewer than five teams to varsity bubble rounds with 3-1 records going into the fifth and final preliminary round of competition. And while RUDU unfortunately dropped all five bubbles, there were four novices and three second-year debaters among the ten bubbling debaters, showing great promise for the coming weeks and years of Rutgers debate.
Despite their varsity bubble loss, star novices Kurt Falk and Quinn Maingi broke to novice semifinals where they dropped a narrow decision. Both Kurt and Quinn were in the novice speaker ranks, joined by Shireen Hamza, who won her first novice speaker award.
Here are the official awards won at Penn:
Kurt Falk & Quinn Maingi – 3rd novice team
Kurt Falk – 4th novice speaker
Shireen Hamza – 7th novice speaker
Quinn Maingi – 9th novice speaker
Alex Jubb – 10th novice speaker
With the speaker finish, Kurt has cracked the top ten in the Novice of the Year (NOTY) standings, joining regular partner Quinn. Quinn is now 4th in the country among first-year debaters and Kurt is 7th. Alex remains in the top twenty and Shireen is now in the top thirty.
With the incredibly successful novice class already threatening to eclipse last year’s record performers, RUDU heads for the American University “pro-am” tournament this coming weekend. With all teams consisting of one varsity and one novice debater, Rutgers is poised to succeed at this large tournament. Two years ago this weekend marked Rutgers’ first break at any tournament in over two years. Since that time, Rutgers has earned 38 varsity breaks and 21 novice breaks.