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February 13, 2013 — A University of Wyoming debate team captured individual honors at the 16th annual Val Browning Round Robin Debates in Ogden, Utah. Overall, UW captured first place, giving the team a record fifth championship in the prestigious tournament.
UW senior Amy Pauli (Green River) and sophomore Mary Marcum (Omaha, Neb.) worked their way through the preliminary debates to advance to the elimination rounds, where they upset the tournament’s top-rated teams to place first.
“This year's victory at the Browning Round Robin was particularly significant because it was the UW debate team's fifth championship, giving us the most championships of any school in the tournament’s history,” says Travis Cram, director of UW's debate team. Cram, of Cheyenne, was one of UW’s most successful policy debaters.
UW previously won the Browning Round Robin tournament in 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2005. The next two closest schools, in terms of wins, are Arizona State University and the tournament’s host, Weber State University, tied with two team championships.
Marcum and Pauli had a “monster performance” by taking the first place championship against strong competition, Cram says.
In the preliminary debates, UW’s team posted a 5-2 record with victories against Gonzaga University, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UM-KC), Southwestern College, Weber State University and Idaho State University.
Their record advanced Marcum and Pauli to the elimination rounds as the tournament’s fourth-ranked team.
In the elimination rounds, Marcum and Pauli first pulled off a major upset against another UM-KC team, which came in as the favorite to win the tournament, Cram says. The UW team earned a decisive 3-0 decision in its debate, allowing it to advance to the final round against top-ranked Gonzaga University which, until that point, was undefeated.
After a close debate that wrapped up at 1 a.m., Marcum and Pauli were declared the winners of the final round and claimed the championship.
Cram says the win for Marcum and Pauli is significant because the tournament regularly draws some of the best debate teams in the western United States, bringing in schools from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Another UW two-person team also competed in the Val Browning Round Robin debates: senior Jared Fanning and junior Ben Berry, both from Cheyenne. They narrowly missed advancing to the elimination rounds after posting victories against Cal-State, Chico, Idaho State University and Puget Sound University.