University of Mary Washington juniors Parker Coon and Gabe Lewis will compete in the 72nd National Debate Tournament next month. The varsity UMW Debate Team members qualified for the national competition after placing third at the District VII National Debate Tournament, recently hosted on the Fredericksburg campus.
Coon and Lewis finished the contest with six wins and two losses against competitors from George Mason University, James Madison University, Liberty University, West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh. The debates focused on whether the federal government should establish national health insurance. A total of nine schools competed in the District VII tournament, which encompasses colleges from six states and the District of Columbia.
The National Debate Tournament will be held at Wichita State University, March 23 through 26. The competition marks the 20th year that UMW has qualified for the national tournament. It’s the third time for Coon and the second for Lewis.
The UMW team is one of 78 to qualify for the national competition, the only one on the intercollegiate policy debate circuit that requires qualification.
Coon and Lewis already have enjoyed a successful debate season, including finishing in first place at the UMW tournament in October, as quarter-finalists at the University of Miami Hurricane debates and as octa-finalists at the U.S. Naval Academy Crowe-Warken debates. Besides the two varsity competitors, UMW has 12 debaters who compete in novice and junior varsity divisions. The UMW Debate Team also will compete in the American Debate Association National Championship Tournament in Dallas, Texas, March 10 to 12.
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