The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) ran its streak of weekends in the varsity elimination rounds to seventeen at Columbia this past weekend with an octofinals appearance for Ashley Novak and Russell Potter. RUDU also made it three-for-three this year in the novice break as Nick Hansen and Becky Ratero made the novice quarterfinals. Many more teams finished with winning records and Rutgers maintained a high ranking in the overall American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) standings, at 6th. Harvard, who Rutgers passed last weekend, won the Columbia tournament and passed Rutgers once more.
Here are the official awards won by RUDU at Columbia:
Ashley Novak & Russell Potter – 11th Team
Nick Hansen & Becky Ratero – 8th Novice Team
Nick Hansen – 8th Novice Speaker
The tournament was the largest of the year so far and featured an enormous contingent of Rutgers debaters, many of them novices getting their first competitive experience in college debate. Many of the varsity matched some of their highest individual speaking performances in their careers as well, while a couple of close decisions kept them out of the break. Novak & Potter dropped in octofinals to the eventual tournament semifinalists from Swarthmore, who moved up to 7th in the national rankings, still a good 12 points behind Rutgers. The rankings tend to fluctuate greatly early in the season since each tournament makes a large difference. Rutgers remains 2 points behind #5 Johns Hopkins and 10 behind #4 George Washington in the overall standings. Yale, Harvard, and Brandeis round out the top 5, counting up.
This weekend, the team will travel to Swarthmore for the annual novice-only tournament, which does not factor into the national rankings but does offer novices a unique opportunity to compete only against other first-year debaters. Last year, Rutgers took the top seed in in-rounds and top speaker at that tournament.