In what was almost certainly the best weekend of all-time for Rutgers debate, the Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) won the University of Albany tournament, took 3rd place at the Franklin and Marshall College tournament, placed 6th and 8th as well at Albany, qualified three debaters for Nationals, and surged past Harvard and Johns Hopkins to take sole possession of the 3rd ranking in the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) standings.
Quinn Maingi and Alex Jubb both qualified for Nationals by winning the University of Albany tournament after breaking top seed with an undefeated 5-0 record, the only team to accomplish that at the tournament. They then defeated a team from Brandeis in semifinals and Smith in finals to win the second tournament this season for Rutgers, after Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter won Vassar in December. That team finished 8th at Albany and remains ranked 12th overall partnership in the league. Quinn Maingi also became the fourth Rutgers debater ever to win a top speaker award with the top prize at Albany, joining Farhan Ali, Chris Bergman, and Sean Leonard (at Vassar in December) in the feat.
Meanwhile, at Franklin and Marshall College, Bergman and Leonard also broke top seed with an undefeated 5-0 record, losing a narrow decision in semifinals to Swarthmore after winning quarterfinals. They finished the tournament third and were both in the top five varsity speakers, with novice Leonard taking the top speaker award in that category. Leonard also qualified for the National Championships to be held this April with the semifinal appearance, his second of the year after joining Ashley Novak in semis at American University last fall.
The performances brought a bevy of ranking points for the annual College of the Year (COTY) rankings, the system APDA uses to rank whole teams on a week-to-week and overall season basis. Going into the weekend 4.5 points behind 3rd place Harvard and 9 points behind 4th place Johns Hopkins, RUDU put up an unbelievable 60.5 points while Harvard received 2 and Hopkins 0.
This cements Rutgers as by far the 3rd place team in the nation, behind only #1 Yale and #2 Brandeis. While Yale is unreachable, a conversation about chasing Brandeis may be beginning for this year, with the Massachusetts school about 90 points ahead of Rutgers. That’s a large sum (Rutgers’ current total is 237.5 points), but weekends like this are making the team believe.
Here are the official accomplishments at this weekend’s tournaments:
Quinn Maingi & Alex Jubb – Tournament Champions
Henry Phipps & Deepta Janardhan – 6th Team
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 8th Team
Quinn Maingi – Top Speaker
Henry Phipps – 4th Speaker
Adam Bomeisl – 5th Speaker
Russell Potter – 7th Speaker
FRANKLIN & MARSHALL
Chris Bergman & Sean Leonard – 3rd Team
Chris Bergman – 4th Speaker
Sean Leonard – 5th Speaker
Sean Leonard – Top Novice Speaker
The break to quarterfinals at Albany was the first varsity break for Phipps and Janardhan, the first break of any kind in Janardhan’s career. While seven Rutgers debaters have now qualified for Nationals, seven more are now in progress to that feat with some points earned toward qualification. Phipps and Janardhan are joined by Gordon Morrisette, Kurt Falk, Nisha Kumar, Arbi Llaveshi, and Bhargavi Sriram as having points on the board for RUDU. Morrisette is just a half-point shy of qualification, while most others have a ways to go.
The six varsity speaker awards for Rutgers are also a school record on a weekend and puts a team-high-extending nine debaters on the Speaker of the Year (SOTY) rankings. Novak, RUDU’s entrant in the top ten speakers in the country, took this remarkable weekend off to celebrate her birthday, but is now joined by Maingi and Phipps in the rankings, alongside Leonard, Bergman, Potter, Jubb, Falk, and Bomeisl. While Novak took the weekend off for her birthday, Jubb actually won the Albany tournament on the day of her 21st birthday, her first varsity tournament win ever.
RUDU is now a safe 51.5 points ahead of 4th place Johns Hopkins and 54 points above 5th place Harvard in the national rankings. While not an insurmountable lead for those chasing schools, Rutgers’ entire team is still able to contribute to the final rankings, while its rivals have debaters who are “capped” and have contributed their maximum number of points, making it likely that RUDU has secured the 3rd ranking (or above) for good.
The season has seven regular-season weekends remaining before the 2013 National Championships, to be held this year at the University of Maryland. Rutgers will host its annual Invitational on March 8-9, at which Rutgers cannot compete. Rival Brandeis will host its tournament on April 5-6, at which it will not be competing. The Yale, Hopkins, and Harvard tournaments were all last semester.
This weekend’s upcoming contest for RUDU will be at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.