7 Rounds, 9 Teams, 26 Hours, and a few judges obligated for another round Sunday morning, and GDS 2018 is in the books.
Big regional tournaments on the Tournament of Champions circuit are all about the clash of big ideas, but they also require a lot of endurance by students, coaches, and volunteers. This is a tough tournament, drawing students from across the Mid Atlantic and New York, and as far away as Florida and Michigan. The judges are all experienced and expect a lot, and almost all of the competitors attended rigorous summer debate institutes like at Universities like Dartmough, Michigan, and Northwestern.
We couldn't be prouder of all of the students who participated this year from the WUDL. Everyone worked hard to prepare and came in ready to learn and absorb as much as they could. This tournament is very reflective of the league's growth--we brought 4 teams in 2017, and 9 in 2018. Last year, we won 5 rounds total (1.2/team). This year, we won 17 rounds (1.9/team).
DuVal's Ernest Ntangu and Jonathan Collins set a new WUDL record with 3 wins at this tournament, and tied Keoni Scott-Reid and Noah Hinnant for the most number of wins at Travel Tournament in league history.
Despite being the tournaments only middle school competitors, Kenmoor's Asha Verma and Isatou Jawara and Washington Latin's Jackson Lewis and D'Andre Person, both teams won two rounds each!
I was especially proud to see observers from Washington Latin, DuVal, and DC International coming to watch and flow high level rounds to see what they need to prepare for at the next level. Also glad to see DCI and WUDL alum Addie Lowenstein thriving at GDS (and helping out with a bit of pre-round preparations!)
Two special shout outs:
1. Many thanks to Jon Sharp at GDS, and the tournament staff (Judy Butler, Brian Manuel, and Aubrey Semple) for running an efficient and welcoming tournament. We love supporting such a great tournament just up the street, and appreciate the hospitality.
2. A huge shout out to the legion of volunteers who stepped up to help the Travel Team (in no particular order):
Alex Pappas, Spence Turner, Keoni Scott-Reid, Patrick McMullen, David Leo, Jonathan Gonzalez, Lisa Oyolu, Darrian Carroll, Hope Sauceda, Jeff Hallock, and Julia Haines all came out to support the WUDL, adopt a team, and ensure our students were prepared and confident for their rounds. This is one of the big ways that we can even the playing field at competitions like this--bringing more coaching and card-cutting resources to support our competitors. Big tournaments like this are intimidating and difficult, but thanks for the hard work of these folks, we will never be out-coached!