This past weekend, Urban Debate Leagues from around the nation gathered for the Urban Debate National Championship. Teams from Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco/Oakland, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, New York City, Rhode Island, Silicon Valley, St. Louis, and Tulsa gathered to represent the best of Urban Debate nationwide. Beyond a competitive event, the tournament serves as an important networking and community building opportunity for students, coaches, and staff alike.
The final round of the tournament was a showdown between the Bay Area's Skyline High School, and Tulsa's Union High School. Skyline came in as the favorite, and ultimately emerged victorious. Congrats to the Chicago UDL's Payton High School and to the Boston Debate League's Boston Latin High School for their semi-final finishes.
The WUDL attended the tournament for the first time, and was represented by Banneker's Evans and Nash and Largo's Hinant and Scott-Reid. These students have been some of the most dedicated and hardworking students in the league for the last two years. Evans and Nash didn't lose a round during the fall semester of 2016, and are a big part of Banneker High School's status as the 2015-16 Sweepstakes champions. They have the best record of any female debaters in league history. Largo's Scott-Reid has never missed a WUDL event in two years, even informal evening practices for our travel team. He was named a Finalist for the Urban Debater of the Year award in 2016-17 and won the Matthew H. Ornstein Outstanding Debater award in 2015-16. Together, they have the best competitive record of any team in league history, and have won an award at every tournament we've held.
As the Program Director, I've worked closely with these incredibly bright students over the last year, and couldn't be prouder. They represented the WUDL well and learned a lot over the course of the weekend. Largo in particular put the WUDL on the map competitively, sprinting out to a 3-1 start and upsetting several powerhouse schools from St. Louis and Kansas before losing some tough rounds to New York and Houston to finish 3-3 overall. (They also lost to the top team from Los Angeles, the reigning debater of the year).
We're excited that three of our qualifiers were juniors, and will return to the WUDL next season to share what they've learned and to be leaders in our local Urban Debate League!