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2006 BARD DEBATE TEAM RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION IN RECENT DEBATES Second-year Bard student Nathan Sweed named top junior varsity speaker in the country; and Bard junior Ravenna Wilson named fourth speaker over all
Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard Debate Team had a stellar weekend at the Novice/JV Nationals competition at West Virginia University on March 3–5, 2006. At the tournament, over 150 teams, from more than 80 colleges and universities throughout the country, competed in two divisions—junior varsity (JV) and novice—for the national championship. (Schools included several SUNY campuses, the Universities of Rochester, Vermont, and Mary Washington; Cornell, Dartmouth, John Carroll, Kansas State, Liberty, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wake Forest universities; and the U.S. Army and Naval Academies.) In each division, the top 20 speakers (out of over 300) were given awards.
Bard College sent six students to the tournament, four students in the novice class: Cassie Cornell ’09, Rushaine McKenzie ’07, Travis Rubury ’09, and Neesha Fakir, Program in International Education (PIE); and two students in JV: Nathan Sweed ’08 and Ravenna Wilson ’07. Sweed was named the number one JV speaker in the country; Wilson was named the 4th JV speaker in the country; and Cornell was named 18th novice speaker.
“Always innovative and creative in style, Bard’s JV team of Sweed and Wilson had the highest combined points of any team in the tournament,” says Ruth Zisman, director of debate at Bard. “They won five of their seven preliminary debates, running a performative, nihilism argument (many debate speeches include poetry and music written by the students themselves). They even triumphed over the team that ended up winning the tournament. Sweed and Wilson won three elimination rounds on 3–0 decisions, and were eventually defeated in quarterfinals on a 2–1 decision by the team that went on to win the tournament. Their rounds consistently attracted an audience that poured out the door, and they were, by no stretch of the imagination, the talk of the tournament and ‘the team to beat.’”
The Bard Debate Team is now preparing for CEDA Nationals (a one-division, varsity, national tournament, in which over 500 debaters compete) that will take place from March 31 through April 4 in Dallas, and is the largest debate tournament of the year. Bard will send two teams to this tournament (Sweed and Wilson as well as Cornell and McKenzie).
Founded just last year, the Bard Debate Team was named Program of the Year by the Society Advocating More and Better Argumentation (SAMBA), one of the national organizations that govern college debate, and Best New Debate Program of the Year by Columbia University. The team received 27 awards during the 2004–05 year. In 2005–06, the team has already received 31 awards. Returning members of the Bard Debate Team are Litta Naukushu (captain), Nathan Sweed, Reanna Blackford, Kelly DeToy, Brad Powles, Noah Weston, and Ravenna Wilson. New members are Beverley Annan, Lisa Dratch, David Duckler, Cassie Cornell, Neesha Fakir, Angelina Fox, Rushaine McKenzie, and Travis Rubury. Ruth Zisman is director of debate, Stephen Davis ’05 is assistant coach, and Jonathan Becker, dean of international studies, is faculty adviser for the team.
For further information, call Ruth Zisman at 845-758-6822, ext. 6144, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit student.bard.edu/clubs/debate.
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This event was last updated on 09-12-2006