UMW Debate Team Started National Tournament Ranked in Top Five

The University of Mary Washington Debate Team duo of juniors Colin McElhinny and Patrick McCleary ranked fifth in the country going into the 2013 National Debate Tournament. The 67th annual National Debate Tournament, held through Monday, April 1 at Weber State University, brought together the top debate teams from across the country for five days of competition.

Colin McElhinny (left) and Patrick McCleary are ranked fifth going into the National Debate Tournament.

McElhinny and McCleary were in the top five alongside teams from Georgetown, Northwestern, Harvard and Wake Forest.

“Regardless of what happens over the next four days of competition, it is essential that we pause to acknowledge that their body of work this academic year has been deemed by their peers to be exemplary,” said Tim O’Donnell, professor of communication and director of debate at UMW.

Debate Coach Adrienne Brovero and Assistant Debate Coach Judd Kimball worked closely with McElhinny, a political science and economics double major, and McCleary, a political science major.

During the opening ceremony of the tournament, O’Donnell received the Lucy M. Keele Award for his outstanding service to the debate community.

As the UMW director of debate, O’Donnell has coached the university’s nationally ranked intercollegiate policy debate team to win the American Debate Association National Championship in 2009 and four other times since 2001. He has received the association’s Robert Lambert Coach of the Year Award for Excellence and Service in Intercollegiate Debate. He was awarded the National Debate Tournament’s George Ziegelmueller Award in 2010.

To follow the team’s progress at the tournament, follow @UMWDebate on Twitter.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.