MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The West Virginia University debate team is off to a fantastic start, and that’s not debatable.
The team began the season on a strong note, with some excellent performances, and important debuts at the Rutgers-Newark University Season-Opener tournament on Oct. 3-5.
In the junior varisty division, team captain Nina Orteza, a senior economics, Slavic and East European Studies and World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics student from Morgantown, West Virginia, and her partner, Carty Flora went 4-2, earning a five seed in the tournament.
The two students received a bye in the octafinals before losing a 2-1 decision to Western Connecticut State University in the quarterfinals.
Orteza was named second best speaker in the JV division.
In the novice division, Stephen Mullins, a senior physics and astronomy and world languages student from Charleston, West Virginia, and his partner, Mickey Wright, a junior history, economics and Latin American studies student from Hedgesville, West Virginia, began their debate careers with a strong performance.
Mullins and Wright went 5-1 in preliminary rounds, the only loss coming to Binghamton University. This placed Mullins and Wright as a three seed in a 40-team division.
They received a bye in the double octafinals before winning 3-0 over George Mason University in octafinals, and 2-1 over Liberty University in the quarterfinals.
The team lost 3-0 to Binghamton, who won the tournament, 3-0 in the semifinals.
Mullins was named top individual speaker in the novice division.
Neil Berch, political science professor, Samantha Godbey, the team’s assistant director, Samuel Darkwa, assistant coach, and volunteer Joshua Imes are the coaches of the 2014 team.
“We’re really excited about the start of the season. Old and new debaters have been working hard to prepare, and we’re expecting great things. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from the Eberly College and the University community,” Berch said.
The WVU Debate Team followed up its stellar opening weekend with another strong performance at the LBS Tournament hosted at James Madison University.
In the Open Division, Nathan McTeer (in just his second college tournament) and Nina Orteza went 3-3, just missing elimination rounds and defeating some very strong debaters. In Novice, Mickey Wright and Nathan Wagner (in his first tournament ever) went 4-2 in preliminary rounds, including a big win over Cornell. As the 7th seed, they defeated a team from West Point in octafinals on a 3-0 decision, before dropping a tough 2-1 quarterfinals decision to another team from Army. The tournament also marked the competitive finale for two year debater Rachel Pruden, who will be graduating in December. She will, however, join us as a judge at the WVU John Jacobsohn Memorial Mountaineer Debate Tournament November 14-16 (mark your calendars!),
Debaters were already plotting strategy for West Point the day after JMU, and several have vowed to spend part of Fall Break preparing for the West Point tournament, which is shaping up to be the East’s largest tournament of the fall.
The team will host the John A. Jacobsohn Memorial Debates for the first time since 2011, on Nov. 14-16.
The tournament is named in memory of the WVU Debate Team’s long time advisor, John Jacobsohn.
Jacobsohn was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at WVU, who taught courses in Latin American politics and government, international law and international human rights.
Teams from around the Eastern and Southern United States will attend and alumni and friends are encouraged to join.
Coach Berch will treat returning alumni to dinner, and will present the Jacobsohn, Borsay, and Rogers awards at an awards ceremony.
For more information, contact Neil Berch at (304) 293-9532 or email@example.com.