WUDL Students Shine at Urban Debate National Championship

It is Finals Season, and we had a great showing at the Urban Debate National Championship. Accompanied this year by a number of educational and professional development panels for students, coaches, and staff alike, the UDNC was online this year.


Initially, we qualified Northwestern High School's Dennis Martinez and Alexa Figueroa. Dennis (Lewis and Clark) and Alexa (University of Maryland) are seniors, having debated since their sophomore year. Both have excelled for a long time at the highest levels of debate.


To round out the bracket, NAUDL gave us the opportunity to send a second team, and we sent Capital City Sophomore Liv Birnstad and Junior Clarke Dickens. Liv, our reigning "New Debater of the Year," is in their second year of debate, while Clarke has debated since 8th grade. With only a week's notice, they worked really hard over spring break to get ready, with Clarke's years of experience proving highly valuable to ground the team.


NAUDL implemented a pod system for this year's tournament.

Pod 2: Tulsa, Kansas City, Chicago, New York, and Dennis/Alexa

Pod 4: Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, and Clarke/Liv


Both of our teams had outstanding weekends:

Dennis and Alexa were the 4th seed after the preliminary rounds, and would have advanced to the Semi-Finals, but didn't advance because of the pod system. Dennis was the 6th overall speaker. This is the best we've ever done at the UDNC


Liv and Clarke also brought home hardware, finishing 2nd in their pod as well. Liv also snagged the 5th overall speaker, our best finish yet.


Liv and Clarke aren't graduating, and we look forward to working with them as leaders and mentors in the next few years, both on their team, and in the broader community.


We couldn't ask for better graduates and ambassadors than are so proud to see Dennis and Alexa graduate, and look forward to working with them this summer at the Ornstein Summer Debate Institute!

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