This past weekend, the Washington Urban Debate League took more than 30 students to the prestigious New York Fall Face-Off. This tournament is a qualifying tournament for the national Tournament of Champions at the end of the year. It brings together the best teams from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast at Mamaroneck High School just outside New York City. This regional tournament was a grueling 3 day tournament (8 AM - 10 PM), much more intense and challenging than our local competitions (1 day, home before dinner).
The headline of the weekend is Capital City PCS's Joey Villaflor and Akesh Mallia. As 8th graders, they were some of the youngest debaters in attendance (this is a high school tournament). Despite their youth and having never been to a travel tournament before, these boys shone. Joey and Akesh went 4-1 in preliminary rounds, dominating the JV Division. They then defeated multiple opponents in single elimination rounds, including neighbors from Georgetown Day School, before finally falling to Stuyvesant High School in a close round late Saturday night. We are incredibly proud of these young men, and look forward to their continued growth and success.
On the Varsity side, Kaitlyn McClinton and Elizabeth Ballah led the way with the best WUDL record. This is their second travel tournament this year, and 3rd overall. I had the pleasure of judging them in a practice round earlier this summer, and since attending the Georgetown Summer Debate Institute this summer, they have really taken a leap forward, debating with much more confidence and nuance.
The WUDL took 15 teams from 9 schools, both league records. We are dedicated to supporting both highly successful teams chasing bids to the Tournament of Champions, but also helping folks get a taste of regional travel and exposed to more competitive argumentation. These trips are often the spark of new arguments and dramatic student growth.
A huge shout out to our team of coaches and judges that made this weekend possible and pleasant for all involved:
David Trigaux (WUDL Staff)
Dara Davis (WUDL Staff, who planned the trip, including a swing through New York's Chinatown)
Selah Lee-Bey, Darrian Carroll (Washington Latin)
Wil Hawk and Thora Balk (Capital City)
Eleni Orfanos (Mamaroneck Alum, now attending American University)
Jonathan Collins (Harvard University, WUDL Alum who met us there. He's having a great first semester)
Danielle Dupree (Howard University, WUDL Alum)
Jaden Kuykendahl and Aster Smith (Howard University, Chicago UDL Alums)
Patrick McMullen (DC International)
Eric Clarke (Georgetown University, WUDL Alum)