Thursday, January 12, 2012
UWG students Damiyr Davis, Miguel Feliciano, Osayame Gaius and Vanova Robles weren't around campus on the first days of the spring semester. That's because they were representing the university in interscholastic competition at the Texas Two-Step, two debate tournaments held at the University of North Texas and the University of Texas-Dallas.
More than 80 teams and more than 160 debaters from across the nation competed against each other, with UWG's teams dominating like no other school.
The team of Robles and Gaius had a combined preliminary round record of 13-1, defeating teams from Boston College, Oklahoma, UT-Austin, Wake Forest, Trinity University, UT-San Antonio, UT-Dallas, Wayne State, and Wichita State. They reached the semifinals at both tournaments, losing close 2-1 decisions in each. Vanova, a sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was awarded the 13th place individual speaker award at UNT and second speaker at UTD. Gaius, a junior from Miami, was sixth speaker at UTD.
The freshmen team of Davis and Feliciano compiled an 11-3 preliminary record over similar competition, reaching the quarterfinals of the UNT tournament, where they bowed out to the higher seeded team of Gaius-Robles. Davis was named third best individual speaker.
The frosh topped their UNT performance by going undefeated at UTD, winning the tournament with a perfect 7-0 preliminary record, and overall dominating ballot count of 21-1, including unanimous 3-0 decisions in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. Davis was named the top speaker and Feliciano was recognized as the seventh-place individual speaker. Winning a national tournament and being named top speaker is highly unusual for a first-year college debater. These two freshmen from New York City have clearly put themselves on the map of intercollegiate debate. They also both made dean's list first semester.