MACON – Mercer University’s debate team had one of its most complete team performances of the 2018-2019 season this past weekend at Valdosta State University in its final tournament of the calendar year.
“For the first time that I’ve been a coach, every single Mercer debater made it to the elimination rounds,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “Mercer is a team of not only one or two great debaters, but a team of exceptional people who all work together and support one another. It is our teamwork, more than any other factor, that allows for our continued success, and it is that quality of supporting one another that always makes me the proudest of this very special team.”
Mercer took home the sweepstakes trophy for the team that performed best across both the varsity and novice divisions.
Among varsity debaters, juniors Taylor Cole and Eduardo Rubio reached the semifinals, while seniors Cassie Malcolm and Garrett Williams reached the quarterfinals.
Cole was named fourth-place individual speaker.
Mercer “closed out” the final round of the novice division, as the pairing of sophomores Madison Moore and Ty Gramling reached the finals along with teammate Christian Watson, who debated without a partner in his first-ever National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) tournament. Moore, Gramling and Watson were declared co-winners.
Moore and Gramling posted a perfect record winning every ballot in every round. Watson was named second-place individual speaker, Moore was fourth-place speaker, and Gramling was 10th-place speaker.
Additionally, freshmen Shreya Singh and Michael Chen reached the quarterfinals.
Alongside assistant coach Kyle Bligen, fellow Mercer debate team alumnus Gabriel Ramirez helped coach the team at Valdosta State.
The team’s next tournament will be the Great Salt Lake Invitational/UTEP IE Classic held Jan. 18-21 at the University of Utah.