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Debate posts mid-season national rankings

January  23, 2014

The Augustana Debate Union (ADU) has earned mid-season national rankings from the nation's two policy debate organizations, and competed in 40 debates over the holiday break.

The rankings recognize the current standings for each two-person team on the squad and the individual accomplishments of each student-debater based upon speaking performance.

The ADU has a 28th place national ranking in the Cross Examination Debate Association, placing higher than rivals from USC, NYU, Kansas State, Minnesota and Chicago.

In the National Debate Tournament's rankings, Augustana sits at 39th, which is 35 spots higher than its final position at the end of the 2012-2013 campaign and good enough to place in front of Boston College, Baylor, Michigan State, Iowa, and Florida. At the team level, international students Alexandra Sjolin-Falk and Arnoud Visseren, from Sweden and Holland respectively, rank as the nation's eighth-seeded novice team, with a winning percentage of over 65%. Five of the top 20 individual speakers in the nation represent the ADU: Hena Thakkar (third), Arnoud Visserren (ninth), Alexandra Sjolin-Falk (13th), Megan Hammerer (16th) and Zachary Yakey (17th).

The ADU recently compted in the annual Texas Two-Step, which offers students the opportunity to compete in two tournaments back-to-back during winter break before classes resume. Six Viking debaters participated in the annual "Fear and Loathing in Dallas" tournament, hosted by the University of Texas-Dallas Jan. 5. Four students advanced to the elimination rounds. Sjolin-Falk and Visseren advanced in the semi-finals by virtue of lock-out over first years Hammerer and Thakkar to the final round of the tournament. Sjolin-Falk and Visseren lost a closely contested championship round against Lindenwood University on a 2-1 judge's decision. Hammerer and Thakkar, semifinalists, were honored for their individual performances, receiving the tournament's fifth place and top speaker's award, respectively. Thakkar's top speaker award is the ADU's third of the 2013-2014 season.

Days later, the ADU transitioned to the William DeMougeot Debates, hosted by the University of North Texas. Sjolin-Falk and Visseren advanced to elimination rounds as the No. 2 seed, defeating the University of Rochester in the semifinals on a 3-0 decision, before placing as finalists once again. More individual performances were recognized as Sjolin-Falk collected her fifth-place speaker award while Thakkar received third speaker. First-year Eigen Aoki and junior Mara Cantrell-Paulson also competed at the swing, collecting six wins between the two tournaments and providing veteran leadership for the elimination round appearances of the novice members of the program. All told, the ADU competed in 40 debates in Texas before returning to campus.

The ADU will close out the regular season by hosting its intercollegiate debate tournament, the Viking Debates, Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Competitors from across the region will attend. Members of the ADU and other Augustana students will serve as tournament administrators.

Students interested in joining the debate team should contact Max Archer, director of debate, 309-794-7717. Meetings are held at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays in Old Main 214.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833