RUDU took eleven novice teams to Swarthmore’s annual tournament for first-year debaters and they were aided by coaches and varsity teammates. Left to right: Adam Bomeisl, Quinn Maingi, Akash Mitra, Raynee Morris, Kurt Falk, Riti Khamgaonkar, Ian Wasdin, Jamie DiVito, Vaishali Gauba, Meryem Uzumcu, Basil Alomary, Sahil Bambulkar, Shweta Mahajan, Daniel Park, Kira Kaur, Sean Leonard, Ed Bibiano, Chris Bergman, Phil Davidar, Kai Rau (with Lavendar the Unicorn), Pei Huang, Storey Clayton, Oksana Soomai, Justina Otero, Zeshan Khan, Shreyas Jaganmohan, and Chris Baia. (Not pictured: Sangjin Paik)

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) put up a stellar in-rounds performance at Swarthmore Novice this past weekend, featuring the team of Sean Leonard and Sahil Bambulkar winning all five preliminary rounds and breaking to octofinals as the #1 seed in the tournament. Sean Leonard received the first speaker ranking in all five of those rounds en route to a top speaker recognition, the first-ever such honor for a Rutgers debater at a novice-only contest. He joins Ashley Novak, Kurt Falk, and Nick Guida as RUDU debaters decorated with a top novice speaker award at a tournament.

Leonard & Bambulkar dropped their octofinal round and took home the ninth-place team plaque. While the out-rounds were not spectacular for RUDU, this still positions the team well for the start of the Novice of the Year (NOTY) race, which begins this Friday, October 5th at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ten other teams attended the tournament for Rutgers, with Meryem Uzumcu and Shreyas Jaganmohan narrowly missing the break. Many debaters were attending their first-ever intercollegiate parliamentary tournament, with all getting valuable experience and detailed critiques from judges which will contribute to their growth as speakers.

Mostly varsity teams will be attending this weekend’s trek to Harvard, but the novices should be back in force for the Maryland tournament on October 12th and 13th.

RUDU stands ranked 13th overall in the country, with the rankings unaffected by APDA’s novice weekend. Ashley Novak is the 10th ranked speaker in the nation and will be looking to improve that ranking at Harvard.