The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) split the squad between Amherst and Bryn Mawr Colleges this weekend, placing in the quarterfinals at both tournaments and completing the most successful season in team history ranked fifth in the country.

The breaks (advancements to elimination rounds) brought RUDU to a solid twenty-five (25) breaks for the entire year, surpassing the previous club record of four (4) set last year. RUDU finished last season ranked 24th, the first time it ever appeared in the overall College of the Year (COTY) rankings on the APDA circuit.

Here are the accomplishments at this weekend’s tournaments:
Amherst:
David Reiss & Kyle Bomeisl – 5th team
Kyle Bomeisl – 5th speaker
David Reiss – 7th speaker
Bryn Mawr:
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 7th team
Gordon Morrisette – 9th speaker
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 1st novice team
Gordon Morrisette – 3rd novice speaker
Arbi Llaveshi – 7th novice speaker

Despite the break, Dave & Kyle fell to 7th overall Team of the Year (TOTY) due to a late surge by teams from BU and Brandeis who won Amherst and Bryn Mawr, respectively. Nevertheless, this is the first top-ten finish in TOTY in Rutgers history.

Meanwhile, Ashley held on to her ranking as 2nd Novice of the Year (NOTY), the highest finish for a woman on APDA in those rankings in six years. However, due to unexpectedly good performances from two novices from other schools, Gordon fell out of the top ten in NOTY, finishing 11th by the smallest margin possible, just half a point behind 10th. However, the novice duo completed one of the most brilliantly successful years ever for a first-year team, winning their fifth tournament novice championship, the third secured by breaking to varsity outrounds. Were there a ranking for Novice Team of the Year, there is no doubt that Ashley and Gordon would have taken first overall in such standings.

The banner year for Rutgers debate is not over yet – National Championships are held over three days this coming weekend at the US Military Academy in West Point, NY. Rutgers is sending four teams to Nationals, having qualified five debaters. Only Harvard and Yale have earned the right to send more debaters, and only William & Mary will be sending as many. No other school in the league has qualified as many debaters or teams for Nationals.

RUDU’s successes are legion from the 2010-2011 season, and can be found in detail on the Awards page. RUDU debaters won three tournaments this year and finaled at two more, having never reached a final round in any prior tournament during the decade-long history of the club. RUDU won ten break rounds after winning just one last year. RUDU placed in the top ten of a tournament 26 times, the top ten speakers 24 times, and the top four novice teams 19 times. RUDU won seven tournament novice championships, a top varsity speaker award, four top novice speaker awards, and a whopping 39 novice speaker awards.

The massive success of the novices demonstrates that the best is definitely yet to come for the Rutgers squad. While seniors David Reiss and Farhan Ali are graduating, facing Nationals as their last official tournaments, almost the entire rest of the team will be returning to take RUDU to even greater heights in the coming seasons. Success may have come quickly for this team, but there are no plans to relinquish that high level of competition now that it has been established. With seniors around the league graduating, hopes are high that Rutgers will exceed their record-setting fifth place ranking as early as next year.

Finally, the fifth-place ranking is made even sweeter for Rutgers given its relative strength over key rivals, especially cross-state foe Princeton, who finished the year in 18th place. And while Yale and Harvard took the top two spots in the annual cumulative rankings, Rutgers edged out the rest of the Ivy League, ranging from Columbia (12th) to Cornell and UPenn (unranked).

The final top twenty-five for 2010-2011 are as follows:

Rank College/University Points
1 Yale University 811.25
2 Harvard University 266
3 Brandeis University 229.25
4 Boston University 228.75
5 RUTGERS UNIVERSITY 217.25
6 Johns Hopkins University 196.25
7 College of William and Mary 167
8 American University 141.75
9 Fordham University 107.5
10 Stanford University 102.5
11 Bates College 74
12 Columbia University 63
13 University of Chicago 62
14 Swarthmore College 59.5
14 Syracuse University 59.5
16 Brown University 52.5
17 Northeastern University 51
18 Princeton University 50
19 University of Maryland (College Park) 46.5
20 Loyola Marymount University 42
21 Massachusettes Institute of Technology 24
22 Wesleyan University 22
23 Tufts University 13.5
24 United States Military Academy 8.5
25 Hobart and William Smith Colleges 7.5