UWG Debaters Ranked Among Best in the Nation, That’s No Debate

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Holding true to its national trend, the UWG Debate Team finished in second place at The Cross-Examination Debate Association Nationals. The team of Damiyr Davis and Miguel Feliciano, both sophomores from New York City, topped off its season with a more than stellar performance in two national tournaments.

The CEDA competition, held at Idaho State University, kicked off the first leg of nationals with 66 schools and 144 teams competing. A close call, Davis and Feliciano lost after a 5-4 decision in the final round. The team compiled a 7-1 record in preliminary rounds and entered the elimination rounds as the second seed. The win did not come easy; UWG defeated opponents from UT-Austin, Kansas University, Wake Forest and Pittsburg, among others. This marked the fourth time in the last 13 years that UWG reached the final round at the CEDA Nationals.

"Damiyr and Miguel's efforts this year matched their achievements,” said Dr. Michael Hester, UWG’s director of debate. “As sophomores, they have already established themselves as one of the elite teams in the country."

Individually recognized for their talents as well at the CEDA tournament, Davis was named the third place individual speaker and Feliciano, seventh. Davis and debater Hakeem Muhammad were also honored as Academic All-Americans, while debater Osayame Gaius-Obaseki won the CEDA National Debater of the Year Award.

Following the CEDA tournament, the team traveled to Weber State for a showing in the elite eight at the National Debate Tournament in Ogden, Utah, where the top teams in the country qualify to compete. Each preliminary round at the NDT has a three-judge panel, a total of eight preliminary rounds and 24 ballots.

There the Davis-Feliciano team achieved a record of 6-2 in the preliminary rounds, winning 17 of 24 ballots. They defeated teams from Wayne State, Baylor, Cal-Berkeley, Oklahoma and Missouri State. This showing earned them the eighth overall seed and a rematch with Harvard in the sixteenth round. UWG defeated Harvard in a 4-1 decision, advancing them to the quarterfinals. A loss in the quarterfinals to Georgetown ended UWG’s run, placing them fifth in the NDT competition.

Still gaining attention for his performance at NDT, Davis was recognized as the third best individual speaker, in addition to being the only debater in the nation to be recognized as one of the top three individual speakers at both national championship tournaments. Feliciano was also recognized as the sixth best individual speaker, making the duo the only sophomores to be recognized among the top 10 speakers at both tournaments.

"From Osayame winning CEDA National Debater of the Year, to Hakeem becoming an honors student while being on one of the top 20 teams in the nation as a frosh, to Damiyr and Miguel finishing second at CEDA Nationals and fifth at the NDT, our debaters have placed UWG among the elite universities with their scholarship and success," said Hester.

Photo 1: left to right: Dr. Michael Hester, director of debate; Miguel Feliciano, sophomore; Damiyr Davis, sophomore