This past weekend was the league's largest tournament yet this season, with students competing in 5 (!) division.
In the High School Qualifying Division, Ernest/Justin and Paola/Lola took an early lead in the hunt to qualify for the Urban Debate National Championship. These two teams have been at the top of the Varsity pool all year, and 3/4 of them represented the WUDL last year. They haven't run away with the qualification process, as teams from 3 other schools (and Ernest and Justin's teammates) remain in striking distance.
In the Middle School Qualifying Division, Samantha/David of Inspired Teaching made a statement, going undefeated, and showing why they were an early favorite for MS Nationals. Also staking out an early lead on spots for MS Nationals are Jy'Den/Tyler and Madison/Gabby of DCI, last year's runners up Stephanie/Tremayne, Brooke/Naimh of Washington Latin, and Cordell/Stanley from EL Haynes. Many teams remain in the hunt, including Capital City's Joey/Jener, and DC Prep's Dylan/Haven.
We will take two teams to the UDNC, hosted in Dallas this year, and six teams to MS Nationals in Tulsa. 4 will be awarded through direct competition, while 2 will be chosen through application.
In Novice, Stuart Hobson's Zahira/Charlie won the division (and Zahira was top speaker, again), writing them a one way ticket to JV. We are excited to see the growth and development of Stuart Hobson, which used to be a powerhouse in the league several years ago and whose members launched several high school programs when they split up for High School. Inspired Teaching also had several teams write themselves a ticket to JV, led by Maria/Asher.
In the non-qualifying divisions, we had several teams make their long-awaited season debuts. Last year's New Coach of the Year, John Quinn, brought Novice and JV debaters and won awards in both divisions. Capital Hill Montessori, coached by WUDL alumni, also made their long awaited competitive debut.
One team attended their first tournament ever, Montgomery Village Middle School. Montgomery Village, led by award winning former Greenbelt MS Coach Cesar Fortuna, brought several teams and won trophies in the Rookie Division. We are incredibly excited about this expansion into Montgomery County, led by an award winning coach like Mr. Fortuna. We look forward to expanding this partnership to more schools and more students shortly, with a focus on ESL students and Title 1 Schools.