Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Students compete at National Debate Tournament

For the second year in a row, the University of Denver sent two members of the DU Debate Team to the National Debate Tournament. This year, the event was held from March 28–April 2 in Dallas.

Before last year’s tournament, DU had not competed in nationals since the 1980s. And although the University has had a debate team for most of its history, it has only competed at the national level five or six times, says Brian Schrader, the team’s coach and a human communications master’s candidate. 

After a grueling three days of arguing policy, debate partners Justin Eckstein, a senior international studies major, and freshman international studies major David Milavetz won two of eight preliminary debates. It takes at least five wins in the preliminaries to move on to the elimination round, Schrader explains. 

A team from Emory University won the tournament.

“I am still very excited about how well we performed,” Schrader says. “I think our performance this year has, in many ways, set us up for much more success in the future.” 

While Eckstein, who also competed in last year’s national tournament, is the team’s most acclaimed member to date, Schrader says he can see several younger team members excelling in the future. There are seven members on the team this year.

Two experienced debaters who temporarily left the team this year will return next year; Milavetz will have the added experience of already competing at the NDT; and a first-year team who worked together this year are continuing to improve, Schrader says. 

“I hope to take two teams to the tournament next year,” he says.

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