WUDL Winter Classic Kicks Off National Qualifiers

"We are not talking about the laws; we are talking about the people who execute the laws."

This is how you convey a message and sway an audience....It was a privilege to judge your round...I'll hope to encounter you again."

-- From Round 4, in the Varsity Qualifying Pool

As an organization, we pride ourselves of supporting a collaborative > competitive environment at local tournaments. Students taking time out of their tournament weekend to mentor each-other is a normal and encouraged behavior, and our judges are instructed to not even announce winners in the Rookie Division. Research shows that competition drives participation and growth, but the learning that comes from debate isn't impacted by actually winning.

Once a year however, we like to let the competitive hackles come out a bit. It's National Qualifiers time again!

The competition was intense this past weekend as we enter the national qualifiers at both the middle and high school level.

High School Qualifier:

Michelle/Kailey took an early lead, only losing one ballot this past weekend (7-2). Dennis/Alexa and Ranu, however, were right behind them, with a 6-2 record, and as we continue to power-pair rounds, Zara/Lucy, Liv/Clarke, and Mak/Justin are still very much in the hunt to represent the region. Per the NAUDL, there will only be one high school qualifier this year, so getting 1st place is even more important than ever.

Middle School Quals:

Zahra/Charlie, who had some great early season success, but had slipped a bit in December, came out swinging, going undefeated with an 8-0 record. Teammates at Stuart Hobson William/Aidan, and Katy/Seven also had strong weekends, finishing 6-2. Inspired Teaching, the defending national champions, were right behind them, with Reia/Gilly and Asher/Mercer at 5-3. DCI's Maddie/Gabby, Cap City's Simone/Kaylin, and Montgomery Village's Asad/Aadhik are also still in the hunt as well.

We are especially excited to see 3 teams competing in the Middle School Qualifying Division that weren't there last year, including a team that didn't even exist at this point last year. Six teams can qualify to represent the region at the Middle School level.


In their first JV tournament, Basis's Alex/Noemie went undefeated and won the JV division. They're on the

fast track to Varsity this year. Angel/Joyce were close on their heels, with 8 schools represented in the top 10.


One of the biggest stories of the tournament occurred in Novice, where the brand new Richard Wright team won multiple awards, finishing 5th overall, and Taron and Jayden both winning speaker awards. Emerging team Friendship Tech also won multiple trophies, a first for the school. Many kudos for Coaches Cushing and McCartney (Richard Wright) and Dotson-Robertson (Tech) for their hard work, their teams really stepped up this month.


In Rookie, brand new debaters Ali/Vivienne won the division, but Social Justice stole the show, with multiple teams finishing in the top 5, and multiple debaters winning speaker awards. In their third tournament, the team is really coming together with first year coach Rebecca Ain and Ass. Xavier Barnes.

As usual, thank you to all of the volunteers who made the tournament possible, including the DPE sisters of George Washington University. We'll see you in February to find out who will represent the D.C. area at Nationals!

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