Seawolves speak Down Under

December 16, 2011

Varsity members of the Seawolf Debate program just returned from a trip to Australia where they competed in two of the most competitive debating tournaments on earth: the Melbourne University and Sydney University Intervarsities.

Of the top 10 debate squads in the world, four are from Australia. In the 30-year history of the World Universities Debating Championships, teams from Australia have won the Championship 10 times, including the most recent. The Australian debating circuit is second to none.

For a strong group of UAA’s varsity debaters who have high hopes for their performance at the upcoming World Championships, the trip to Australia proved that they are on par with the best in the world. At the Melboure IV, the team of Colin Haughey (senior, Philosophy) and Brett Frazer (senior, Natural Sciences) were ranked ninth out of more than 60 teams participating, and missed advancing to the elimination rounds by the narrowest of margins: a single speaker point (out of the over 1,200 points that may be accumulated over the course of six preliminary rounds) kept them out of the semifinal round.

Undaunted, the Seawolves then traveled to Sydney University to compete in the Sydney IV. There, the team of Drew Cason (senior, Environment and Society) and Sarah Carpenter (senior, Culinary Arts) qualified for the quarterfinal round, where they faced teams from Sydney University, Monash University (Aus) and the University of Victoria, Wellington (NZ).

Both performances bode well for the Seawolves’ chances at the upcoming World Championships, to be hosted by De La Salle University of Manila on Tuesday, Dec. 27 to Wednesday, Jan. 4. At that tournament, the top 400 teams from around the world will gather to determine the best of the best in intercollegiate debating. The Seawolves will field a squad of eight students at the competition, three of whom are part of the contingent who performed so well at least year’s World Championships in Botswana.

For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at (907) 786-4391.

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