UT Dallas Debate Team Finishes in Top 10 at National Tournament

UT Dallas Debate Team

Debate team members Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli (seated) were joined by assistant director Phil Samuels (from top left), assistant coaches Eric Robinson and Matt Munday, and director Scott Herndon at the National Debate Tournament.

The UT Dallas debate team capped off its season with a top-10 placement at the National Debate Tournament (NDT), beating the University of West Georgia in a 3-2 decision.

Political science senior Jacob Loehr and public affairs senior Anthony Ogbuli — who have competed as a pair for three years — advanced to the octa finals, or the round of 16, with the win over West Georgia. They placed ninth overall in the tournament.

“Finally making it to Monday of the NDT was an excellent capstone and tribute to all the progress we’ve made as a team over the last three years,” Ogbuli said. “We always work and strive to be better, and we’re never satisfied with our latest achievement. It’s what makes us ‘UTD.’”

They are only the second team from UT Dallas to reach the octa finals at the NDT, and the first to make it that far since 2011. Last season, the duo advanced to the double-octa finals, or the round of 32.

The top 78 debate teams  in the country were invited to the event, held at Binghamton University in New York. UT Dallas defeated the University of Michigan, Concordia University, the University of Oklahoma, San Francisco State University, Indiana University and the University of West Georgia. This year marks the debate team’s 13th at the tournament.

Scott Herndon, program director and coach, said the competition is a marathon that takes places over four days, with students and coaches getting little time between debates.

“It was good to be back to debating on the last day of the National Debate Tournament,” Herndon said. “There’s something incredibly satisfying about taking the season from the very first day to the very last day. That last Monday is when the best of the best are still going at it, and Jacob and Anthony had definitely earned their chance to have that spotlight.”

That last Monday is when the best of the best are still going at it, and Jacob and Anthony had definitely earned their chance to have that spotlight.

Scott Herndon,
debate program
director and coach

With their time as college debaters coming to a close, the partners said the feeling was bittersweet.

“Debate has been a home, a game and a learning opportunity for the last eight years,” Loehr said. “There were, without a doubt, some tough times. Whether it was long nights prepping or a tough loss, debate was always a challenging but a nonetheless fulfilling experience.”

Loehr, who will pursue a master’s degree in public policy at UT Dallas next year, said he’ll continue to work with the team as a graduate assistant. Ogbuli will pursue a master’s in political science.

“Anthony and Jacob are part of a proud tradition of UTD debaters at the National Debate Tournament,” Herndon said. “For four years, Jacob and Anthony gave the team everything they had, competed relentlessly and represented everything that’s great about the traditions of UTD debate. While I’m sad thinking that they won’t be around as competitors, I’m excited to see them move into the next stage of their academic and professional lives.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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