This weekend marked the end of the WUDL regular season, a year of tremendous growth and excitement for the Washington Urban Debate League. More than 140 more debaters came out this year and the level of competition increased substantially. Great stories abounded, including a student who has been couch-surfing for the last several years winning a trophy this past weekend!
At the end of each year, we award year-long awards as well as trophies for performance during that day's specific tournament.
Our Year Long Award Winners:
DuVal High School: Sweepstakes Cup (Best Overall Team)
Bowie High School: Best High School Team
Alice Deal Middle School: Best Middle School Team
Capital City PCS: Biggest Team
High School Debater of the Year: Jonathan Collins, DuVal
Middle School Debater of the Year: Edward Sun, Greenbelt
Best New Debater: Bilqiis Shiekh-Issa, DuVal
Coach of the Year: Dr. Omar Price, DuVal
Best New Coach: Marcia Cole, Browne EC
Student Choice Awards:
Team of the Year: Capital City PCS
Debater of the Year: Myles Bell, Alice Deal
Volunteer of the Year: Kathy Beckman
Judge's Choice Award: Paola Almendarez, DC International
DuVal High School is the story here: They've officially won every award they were eligible for:
Sweepstakes Cup: Given to the best team in the entire league for the year
Top High School Debater: Captain Jonathan Collins
Best 1st Year Debater: Bilqiis Shiekh-Issa
Coach of the Year: Dr. Omar Price
National Qualifiers: Ernest Ntangu and Danielle Dupree
DuVal's success comes from having some strong Varsity debaters starting out (Iyonna, Jonathan, Ernest and Danielle), but also because of strong new recruits they aggressively trained and promoted. DuVal's top team this past weekend, Sania Habib and Sandra Romualdo, started the year in Novice and earned their way up, just like Bilqiis and Pearl Mambo. Iyonna Young is the team's only senior, so they enter 2018-2019 as the team to beat. Congratulations to Coach Price and the entire team!
DC International's top team, Paola Almendarez and Addie Lowenstein also completed their almost magical run this season. They won the district tournament, finishing the season only losing a single round against local competition, as 8th graders competing against much older competition. Addie got recruited to debate for Georgetown Day School next year, so we look forward to seeing a friendly face across the room for the next four years at regional tournaments.
Kathy Beckman is our volunteer of the year, chosen by the students for her tireless support of the league. Kathy originally attended her first WUDL tournament as the grandmother, observing her grandson, a Banneker debater. Kathy, a professional development specialist at the State Department, soon agreed to share her knowledge and expertise to help the league improve its judge training process. Her insights, dedication, and assistance have been invaluable.
This year's Best New Coach goes to Marcia Cole of Browne EC. Browne EC is the smallest partner school with the WUDL, with 60-70 middle school students each year. Despite the school's small size, Browne made themselves known this year. Captains Asia Okon and Laurice Djepeno took the Novice Division by storm, finishing strong in the JV Division in their first year of competition. Browne students are off to debate for several different WUDL high school programs next year. Congrats to the runner up: Fadhal Moore of EL Haynes.
Paris Smalley and Justice Westbrook of Charles Flowers went undefeated, proving that DCI and DuVal won't go unchallenged next season. Alice Deal's Uma Fox and Leah Carrier took 5th, rounding out the Varsity trophy winners.
Banneker senior Demetrius Sadler, debating alone, took 7th place with a 3-1 record. He graduates with the most rounds and most wins under his belt of any WUDL Debater in history. He'll attend the University of Rochester next year--Good Luck Demetrius!
Edward Sun of Greenbelt took home the 5th speaker award in Varsity this weekend, Greenbelt's first trophy in the Varsity Division. Edward rose from Novice to Varsity this year and held his own, earning the Middle School Debater of the Year Award.
In Junior Varsity, Bowie, DuVal, Alice Deal, Charles Flowers, and Kenmoor took the top 5 spots, while Benjamin Tasker continued their hot run at the end of the year, winning the novice division. Wise, DuVal, and Kenmoor rounded out the top 5 in Novice.