The Vermont Cynic

UVM students dominate debate competition overseas


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The UVM debate team faces fierce competition during their entire season. This year alone, the team will compete in at least 17 tournaments that will be attended by some of the nation’s finest schools and students.

Recently, the team competed in an international debate competition where they battled wits against 25 teams, consisting of two debaters each. There were around 20 different countries represented at the tournament, but none did

as well as the University of Vermont, who took home the first place title. Participants were from countries that included England, South Korea, Russia and Croatia, as well as many others. In preparing for the tournament, the team spent 4 and a half days training from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., where they took part in lectures, small group activities, and practice debates. Head coach and UVM professor Alfred Snider said “It was great! What makes me excited is to see our students perform at such a high level and show such excellent skills. I am very proud of all of them, not so much for their scores and placing so high, but because of the talents and skills they demonstrated.”

The tournament had five preliminary rounds, and then teams (based on their

win-loss record) advanced into elimination rounds, where a loss meant that that team was disqualified from the tournament.

Two teams then debated in the final round, from which a winning team was chosen.

Placing first in the tournament were UVM student Jake Meany and Simon Grabovec of Ljubljana University in Slovenia. UVM students Nick Landsman-Roos and Leslie Keller made it to the semifinal round, but lost there.

Among individual speakers at the tournament, Meany placed 4th, Landsman-Roos 6th and Keller 11th.

To make a good debater, Snider says a person must have good critical thinking skills, high levels of knowledge about current events, and the ability to think on their feet.

Meany says, “I’m just happy that I gave a good speech and was able to meet

so many different and interesting people, winning was not the zenith of my time

spent in Slovenia, but it was definitely nice.”

Meany, who joined the team as a freshman says he joined because “it’s one of the few events that promotes critical thinking and where students from all over the world have an intellectual throw down that is the equivalent to a cage match.”

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UVM students dominate debate competition overseas