UT Dallas Tournament to Host Nation's Best Debaters
Rare Chance to Hold Event Offers Visibility for University's Growing Program
Mar. 22, 2011
More than 150 of the nation’s most accomplished debaters will converge on the UT Dallas campus this week to battle for top honors in the National Debate Tournament (NDT).
The event will mark the first time that UT Dallas has hosted a national debate tournament and only the fourth time that a Texas university has held the NDT.
|Collin Roark (left) and Andrew Baker were the only duo from a Texas university to receive a guaranteed bid to the tournament.|
The tournament, which runs March 24-28, is held under the auspices of the American Forensics Association.
“This is the Super Bowl of debate,” said Debate Program Director Chris Burk. “Hosting the National Debate Tournament is a great opportunity to showcase our growing debate program, and to showcase the University to a nationwide audience.”
Following a format that resembles bidding for the Olympics, Burk presented the University as a potential site in November 2009 to the NDT Board of Trustees and the NDT National Committee. UT Dallas’ proposal was unanimously approved. Since then, the debate staff has been working through the logistics of hosting the multi-day event.
“No matter who comes out on top in this year’s competition, the event is a win for us,” Burk said.
Previous Texas hosts for the tournament were the University of Houston (1970), Baylor University (2001) and UT Austin (2009).
In addition to playing the role of NDT host, UT Dallas Debate will have two competing teams representing it.
Collin Roark and Andrew Baker, both political science majors, received an invitation to participate as one of the top 16 debate partnerships in the country as voted by coaches from across the U.S. Roark and Baker were the only duo from a Texas university to receive a guaranteed bid.
The remaining 62 teams qualified to attend through district tournaments or second-round invitations. UT Dallas qualified the additional team of Wes Dwyer and Mayu Takeda at the recent District III tournament.
It is the eighth consecutive year that UT Dallas will have teams in the NDT.
The tournament is expected to draw more than 500 visitors – debaters, coaches and other supporters – to UT Dallas. All rounds are open to the public; see the tournament page for the daily schedule of events.
Sterling Performance at District Event
Qualifies Duo for National Tournament
Debaters Wes Dwyer and Mayu Takeda won the right to compete in the National Debate Tournament (NDT) by impressing judges in the District III tournament, held Feb. 25-28 at Wichita State University.
The duo finished in a tie for second place with six wins and two losses, besting teams from Kansas State, Southern Methodist University and Trinity University, among others.
Takeda, a junior political science major, will be competing in her first NDT. Dwyer will be making a second appearance.
“I was very excited to receive an invitation, since going to the NDT was a goal I had set for myself while I was in high school,” Takeda said. “I feel very lucky to have the coaches and teammates at UTD that helped me and Wes get here.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I’m looking forward to enjoying the great competition, and I hope to bring much honor to the team.”
Dwyer and Takeda were the only UT Dallas partnership to compete in the district tournament. The event drew teams from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
“Many debate coaches consider District III, our district, to be the toughest one in the country,” said Chris Burk, debate program director. “I’m proud of Wes and Mayu for putting in weeks of focused preparation to achieve a second place finish.”
Dwyer, a senior majoring in economics, is proud to be competing at an NDT hosted by his alma mater.
“It’s a huge honor to host the NDT and to also represent the school that was chosen to host,” he said. “Our team’s reputation is part of what allows us to be the 2011 host.”