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April 16, 2013 — For only the third time in school history, University of Wyoming debate team members reached the Sweet 16 of the Cross-examination Debate Association (CEDA) national championships.
In February, UW debaters competed at the District II qualifying tournament at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. The qualifying tournaments are held throughout the country to determine which teams attend the National Debate Tournament (NDT). District II spans Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Mary Marcum from Omaha, Neb., and Amy Pauli from Green River, successfully qualified to the NDT after defeating four different challengers at Whitman College, ultimately qualifying as the fourth overall team. The UW team of senior Jared Fanning and junior Ben Berry, both of Cheyenne, achieved the tournament’s third overall seed to qualify to the NDT with wins over the University of Puget Sound, Weber State and Whitman College. UW’s third team of senior Kathleen Bouzis from Omaha and freshman Hunter McFarland from Idaho Falls, Idaho, narrowly missed qualifying after losing their final debate.
Bouzis was the 13th speaker; Berry and Fanning were 10th and eighth, respectively; Marcum was sixth; and Pauli second. District coaches voted Pauli as the district MVP for the season.
“This is the first time UW has had two qualifying teams in the NDT since 2009,” says UW debate Coach Travis Cram.
UW debaters competed in two national championship tournaments in March: the NDT in Ogden, Utah, and the CEDA in Pocatello, Idaho.
At the district tournament, Berry and Fanning collected unanimous victories against Binghamton University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The duo also forced split decisions with several powerhouse schools, collecting ballots against Dartmouth College, Gonzaga University and the United States Military Academy.
Pauli and Marcum narrowly missed advancing to the tournament’s elimination rounds after collecting four wins against the University of Southern California, Baylor University, Idaho State University and the University of Texas-Dallas.
“With both Pauli and Marcum returning to competition next year, they are well poised to become the first all-women’s team from UW to reach the elimination rounds of the NDT,” Cram says.
Berry and Fanning had their best tournament of the year at the CEDA championships, reaching the second elimination round. More than 140 teams competed in the national tournament.
Berry and Fanning had victories against Cornell University, the U.S. Military Academy, Arizona State and Wichita State University. After defeating Cornell for the second time in the first elimination round, the duo bowed out after losing a split decision to a team from James Madison University.
Marcum and Pauli also had their most impressive performance of the season by making a deep run to the tournament’s Sweet 16. In the elimination rounds, the pair successfully defeated Johnson County Community College and regional rival Idaho State before falling to No. 12 University of Oklahoma in the Sweet 16.
The freshman/sophomore team of Bria Frame (Kalispell, Mont.) and Bethany Jones (Green River) capped off their season with victories against Gonzaga University, the City University of New York and Los Rios College. Bouzis and McFarland narrowly missed advancing to the elimination rounds, but did accumulate victories over the City University of New York, Weber State, Central Oklahoma and Kansas City, Kan., Community College.
“This year was only the third time in school history that UW debaters had reached the Sweet 16 of the CEDA national tournament. The entire squad contributed to the achievement,” Cram says.
Pauli and Bouzis were both recognized for their outstanding academic work at the national tournament. The entire squad also earned the second-place award for earning the region’s most sweepstakes points.“Once again, this hard-working group of students showed that the University of Wyoming is an academic force to be reckoned with,” Cram says. “They are a testament to what can be achieved through hard work and discipline. We are only losing two seniors to graduation this year, which means UW is poised to have an explosive season next year.”