The newest RUDU members at Swat Novice 2013, alongside their varsity advisers and coach.  Left to right:  Leland Perice, Dariene Sy, Sean Leonard, Maegan Sunaz, Jen Kim, Sweta Devarajan, Lin Lan, Adam Bomeisl, Zach Sinkiewicz, Ben Jasper, Alan Gou, Storey Clayton, Denise Costanzo, John Kral, Donalene Roberts, Zack Doudak, Nick Hansen, Victoria Disla, Suraj Oza, Marcos Gonzalez, Arbi Llaveshi, Brendon Brito, and Ali Ismail.  (Not pictured:  Vivek Shah.)
The newest RUDU members at Swat Novice 2013, alongside their varsity advisers and coach. Left to right: Leland Perice, Dariene Sy, Sean Leonard, Maegan Sunaz, Jen Kim, Sweta Devarajan, Lin Lan, Adam Bomeisl, Zach Sinkiewicz, Ben Jasper, Alan Gou, Storey Clayton, Denise Costanzo, John Kral, Donalene Roberts, Zack Doudak, Nick Hansen, Victoria Disla, Suraj Oza, Marcos Gonzalez, Arbi Llaveshi, Brendon Brito, and Ali Ismail. (Not pictured: Vivek Shah.)

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) had a debater reach semifinals of the Swarthmore College Novice Tournament for the first time in history last weekend. Zach Sinkiewicz’s partner dropped due to illness the morning of the tournament, but he was able to find a “hybrid” partner from Georgetown University. The pair went on to win all five of their preliminary rounds, break as the second seed in the octofinals and go on to win every round until a narrow 2-1 loss in semifinals.

Here are the official results from Swarthmore Novice 2013:
Zach Sinkiewicz & Abraham Fairfield [Georgetown] – 3rd Team
Lin Lan & Suraj Oza – 18th Team
Nick Hansen – 15th Speaker

Lan and Oza were one of just two teams with a 4-1 record to miss the break. They won their first four rounds and then dropped just out of the break, repeating the run of Shireen Hamza & Jason Boyle two years ago at this tournament.

Rutgers is no stranger to breaking as a high seed at the Swat Novice tournament, held just before the Novice of the Year (NOTY) rankings begin being tracked in October. Last year, Sean Leonard & Sahil Bambulkar broke as the top seed, but failed to advance past the octofinals. Three years ago, Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette also broke as the top seed, but fell in quarterfinals. No prior Rutgers team had ever made it to the semifinals at this tourney.

The novice tournaments held this weekend at Swarthmore and Boston University do not affect the overall national rankings. RUDU stands ranked 6th in the country after the first month of competition. RUDU finished 3rd overall last year, but was not ranked as high as 6th until mid-October.

This weekend, RUDU will travel to Vassar College to revisit the tournament won by Russell Potter & Adam Bomeisl last season. The weekend will mark the opening of the NOTY season and the continuation of the varsity season, both of which will carry on every weekend outside of Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and the North American Championships, until mid-April.