Team History

From 1972 to National Champions.

The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Debate Program was founded in 1972 as the Anchorage Community College Speech and Debate Team. Since its founding, the team has gained regional, national and international acclaim while representing the University of Alaska in competitive speaking tournaments. In the late 90’s, the ACC was merged with the University of Alaska Anchorage and the squad became the Seawolf Speech and Debate team. We continued to compete in individual events and Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) debate, earning awards throughout the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.

In 1995, the team changed from CEDA to the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) circuit. Competitive highlights of this era include Seawolf teams twice making the Semifinals of the NPDA Championship Tournament, Seawolf speakers twice being named the NPDA's Rookie of the Year. The most significant accomplishment of this era, however, is Ben Garcia and Chris Richter's 2002 National Championship at which they bested over 200 other US teams to be ranked the best debate team in the nation.

After refocusing the program from NPDA to International Style Debate in January 2005, the Seawolves garnered immediate international recognition by winning the Rotterdam Open tournament in the Netherlands. The team also continued to enjoy national success by winning the US Universities Championships in 2005 and placing 2nd to Harvard University at the US Universities Championships in 2006. In 2010, the team swept the top four speaker awards at the US Universities Championships, in addition to advancing two teams to the semifinal round of competition.

The focus of the team's competitive season is now on the World Universities Debating Championships. In 2007, a Seawolf team reached the Semifinal round of the World Championships, beating out teams from Stanford, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford. This performance ranked them in the top 2% of teams in the world and as the top debate team in North America.

Over the last two years, the Seawolf Debate program broke three teams at the Worlds Debating Championships, saw three semifinalist and one finalist team at the US Universities Debating Championships, and climbed in the official World Debate Council’s ranking to the 9th most competitive program in the world based on its cumulative success at the last five World Universities Debating Championships. This ranking places the team in 2nd highest ranked team from the United States.

National & Global Titles Won


WUDC = World Universities Debating Championship
USUDC = US Universities Debating Championship
NPDA= National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship

2016 USUDC Semifinalists - Sarah Elton & Sam Erickson

2016 Western State Champions - Sarah Elton & Sam Erickson

2016 WUDC Double-Octofinalists - Jonathon Taylor & Johanna Richter

2014 USUDC Top Novice Speaker

2012 USUDC Semifinalists

2012 WUDC Octafinalists

2011 USUDC Finalists

2011 USUDC Semifinalists - 2 Teams

2011 WUDC Octafinalists - 2 Teams

2010 USUDC Top Novice Speaker

2010 USUDC Top Speaker

2010 USUDC Semifinalists

2008 USUDC Novice Champions

2008 USUDC Top Novice Speaker

2008 USUDC Semifinalists

2007 WUDC Semifinalists

2005 USUDC Champions

2002 NPDA Champions

2000 NPDA Semifinalists

1999 NPDA Top Novice Speaker

1998 NPDA Top Novice Speaker

1995 NPDA Semifinalists

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