When we started off this project last year, 8 teams from three schools attended our first competition, hosted at the offices of our Board chair. A year later, we've filled every classroom in Oyster Adams Middle School, and have more than 40 teams attending from 15 schools. When I spoke to several of my peers, the 100 student mark was considered a big deal in terms of league growth, a sign of maturity and improved competition. We're within spitting distance of that mark after a single year of debate.
The passion and enthusiasm for debate is infectious, and we're looking forward to the year ahead working with new coaches and students alike.
The tournament at Oyster Adams was exciting, especially with so many new programs making their debut. Welcome to DuVal High School, Stuart Hobson Middle School, Two Rivers PCS, Capital City PCS, and Phelps High School!
Oyster Adams had a distinct home field advantage, winning 9 trophies in their season debut! Retherford, Shapiro and Manegio of Oyster Adams took first, second, and third place as individual speakers, and the teams of Manegio and Retherford (3rd Place), Williams and Shapiro (4th Place), and Bose and Lopez (5th Place). The team of Elamine and Davis was also 3-1, but didn't place based on speaker points.
The team of Green and Delgado from EL Haynes took first place in the novice division, demonstrating they are clearly ready for Varsity. DC Prep EMC's teams continued to impress. In Novice, the team of Colbert and Harris took second place, while the team of Tan and Headly took 4th place in their Varsity debut.
DC International had a great day as well, with the team of Almendarez and Lav taking 3rd place in Varsity, and Almendarez took 5th speaker, the only middle schooler to take a speaker award in Varsity. In Novice, they won two speaker awards. Teasdale (4th place) and Weems (5th place) took trophies in their first tournaments. All five top speakers in the novice division were women, another first for the WUDL.
Largo High School continued their exemplary performance, with the team of Scott-Reid and Hinant taking first place in Varsity, and the 3rd and 4th place speaker awards. McCall and Oladimeji took 2nd place, and McCall took the top speaker award. Largo's Novice team of Halm and Glover, debating in their first tournament, went 3-1 and placed 6th, narrowly missing trophies.
Several new programs made an impressive debut. A team from Phelps, a team from Capital City, three teams from Two Rivers, and three teams from Stuart Hobson all broke even, while Harris and Taylor (DC Prep EMC/Two Rivers hybrid), and Hernandez and Miranda (Capital City) went 3-1, missing trophies based on speaker points. Collins, of DuVal High School took the second speaker in the Varsity Division.
More and more students are attending WUDL tournaments every month. The quality of their performance is a testament to all they've learned.