WUDL Holiday Tournament is the largest yet!

Home Alone introduced us to the holiday movie centered around a ridiculously large family (and dozens of movies since). While it wasn't all cousins and aunts, this past weekend's tournament had a bit of that feel, with schools and students we hadn't seen yet this year due to the pandemic suddenly appearing to enrich our community.

This was the largest WUDL tournament yet this semester, and saw several schools, including Bard Early College and Inspired Teaching (more on them later) making their seasonal debuts. We also had WUDL staff members judging a number of teams, looking to see who is ready to move up to the next division, be that Novice, JV, or Varsity. The resounding answer -- these young folk are incredibly talented and are ready for the next challenge!

For those who missed it, this was a very eventful Coaches Meeting.

First, WUDL Coaches voted to explore a return to in person, or at least hybrid tournaments as soon as January. We are very excited about this possibility, and are consulting our fellow UDL partners around the country to ensure that we can incorporate the best practices of those who have returned before us to run a safe, enjoyable in-person experience (and keep an eye on any changes in the public health landscape). They also voted, in both DC and in Maryland, for the 2022-2023 debate topic regarding Emerging Technology and NATO.

Now to the fun stuff:

Inspired Teaching made their seasonal debut, and what a debut it was. In their first tournament ever, Dori and Soren won the Rookie Division. Coaches 7d and Lacey Head have done an amazing job, with 7d reporting that it was "hard to overstate my satisfaction."

CMIT North continued their great season, winning our Team Growth Award for the tournament. Shawn, Precious, Chelsea, and Dailyn all advanced to Varsity, and won trophies, including finishing in 2nd Place in their first Varsity tournament ever. The rest of the team made their debut, and were similarly successful.

Banneker is having a tremendous, resurgent year. They won both our Team Builder and our Competitive Success Awards for the tournament, with 11(!) teams this weekend.

Basis DC took home trophies in all four divisions (and have some JV debaters who've done their last JV rounds). Julie, Sitara, Leah, and Violet haven't lost a JV round in two tournaments now. New team members Greta and Alexandra went undefeated in the Rookie Division.

Brothers James and William Neuroth led the way for Stuart Hobson, winning awards in their respective divisions.

Oyster Adam's Gavin and Symon had a great showing in the JV division as they prepare to qualify for Middle School Nationals again and help defend the WUDL title.

In Varsity, we had 6(!) teams with identical 2-1 records going into the last round of the tournament. This reflects a great parity at the top of the pool, where folks are challenging each-other and learning from each round, something I'm extremely glad to see. Many congrats to Flowers, CMIT, Walls, and Douglas for winning their last rounds and breaking out of the pack a bit.

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