The JMU Debate Team recently completed another successful year. The team finished the year ranked 9th in both the National Debate Tournament’s and the Cross Examination Debate Association’s National rankings. This is the 5th consecutive year that the team has finished in the top ten.
The team finished the year with back to back successful national tournaments. The teams of juniors Jacob Bosley and Elyssa Miller and sophomores Ellie Miller and Nick Lepp each compiled a 5-3 preliminary debate record which allowed them to advance to the round of 64.
In addition to the honors at the tournament the team received several yearlong honors. Ellie Miller and Jacob Bosley were named to the CEDA All-American team which recognizes the top 30 debaters in the country. Several JMU Debaters were also named Academic All Americans which the most in the country. The award is only available to student with junior or senior standing and all seven JMU debate who were eligible received the award. They were:
Jacob Bosley (’15): Summa Cum Laude
Nick Lepp (’16): Magnum Cum Laude
Alyssa Glomb (’14): Cum Laude
Elyssa Miller (’15): Cum Laude
Ellie Miller (’16): Cum Laude
Samantha Perez (’16): Honorable Mention
Erin Hadi (’16): Honorable Mention
First year student Nathan Buchholz was awarded the novice of the year award. The award is given to the debater in their first year of intercollegiate. The recipient should show evidence of growth and participation in the activity. This year 440 debaters competed on the novice level so Nathan’s designation as the top novice in the country is certainly impressive.
In addition to the student awards, Director of Debate Dr. Michael Davis was awarded the George Zeigelmueller Award by the National Debate Tournament. The award is given annually to a coach who has demonstrated a long and substantial career of dedication to the profession of student learning in debate and public policy; substantial evidence of long-term influence on the lives and careers of student debaters; and substantial evidence of success in debate over that career. This award is one of two prestigious lifetime achievement awards given nationally each year. The other award, The Don Brownlee Award, was awarded to Dr. Davis last year. Only two other coaches have ever won both awards..
The JMU Debate Team was also named the top public debate program in the country. The team was recognized for their on campus debate series, high school outreach and engagement and the procurement of a grant to host the Madison Cup and conduct a public debate class. This is the sixth year (2005-2014) that JMU has won the award which no other school has won the award more than twice.
The JMU Debate Teams of Elyssa Miller and Nick Lepp and Jacob Bolsey and Elyssa Miller were also selected to participate in the National Debate Tournament (NDT). The NDT selects the top 80 teams from around the country to participate. This is the first time since 1992 that JMU has qualified two teams to the National Debate Tournament.
The appearance marks the 30th time that the JMU debate program has been represented at the NDT which moves them into 23rd place all time.
The future of the JMU Debate Program looks bright with only one senior graduating this year and a very strong recruiting class joining us in the Fall.
Congratulations to the debate team for such an impressive year! We look forward to your future and wish you the best of luck!