Debate Team Remains Nationally Ranked

Monday, November 26, 2012

CARROLLTON, GA – The UWG debate team concluded the first half of its season in rousing fashion, holding on to its national ranking after reaching the championship round of the Shirley R. Franklin Wake Forest tournament.

Competing with more than 170 teams, the UWG team of Damiyr Davis and Miguel Feliciano compiled a 7-1 record in preliminary rounds, defeating teams from Harvard, George Washington, Idaho State, and Baylor. Their only loss was to Northwestern. They then marched through the elimination rounds, with wins over the University of Kentucky and the University of North Texas.

With this momentum, they cruised to unanimous 3-0 decisions over Georgetown and Harvard in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. This victory cemented their position as the No. 4 team in the country for the end of fall semester.

Davis and Feliciano hail from New York and debated together in high school. Now they compete for UWG and are members of the Honors College. They will spend the spring semester traveling to Dartmouth Round Robin and the Northwestern tournament in preparation for competition at the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship (CEDA).

“Intercollegiate debate focuses on public policy analysis and involves extensive research,” said Dr. Michael Hester, dean of honors college and trans-disciplinary programs and director of debate for 18 years. “The amount of research it takes to prepare for these debates is equivalent to a student researching for their thesis to complete a master’s degree.”

The team of Osayame Gais-Obaseki, a junior from Miami, and Hakeem Muhammad, a freshman from Chicago, compiled a 6-2 preliminary round record with wins over teams from Emory, UGA, Michigan, and Kansas State. Obaseki and Muhammad are ranked in the top 20 and will kick off the spring semester traveling to Texas for the Texas Two-Step Debate Tournament in January. A strong showing at the two tournaments in Dallas could help Obaseki and Muhammad earn a first round bid to the NDT as one of the top sixteen teams in the nation.

In intercollegiate debate, there is one topic for the entire year. This season’s resolution is “The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase financial incentives for energy production in the United States for one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar power, wind power.”

“The UWG library has been phenomenal in assisting with our research by putting together various databases for the debaters,” said Hester. “We receive a lot of institutional support and we want to make sure we make good on that support.”

West Georgia’s consecutive year-streak of qualifying for the NDT (1973-2010) is the fifth longest in the history of activity, surpassed only by Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Kansas, and the University of Southern California.

West Georgia is also the only school to reach the finals of the Cross-Examination Debate Association's national championship three consecutive years, winning consecutive championships in 2000 and 2001.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Hester at 678-839-6636 or visit the debate team site.