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'15-'16 Air Force Invitational

Jonathon Taylor speaks during quarterfinals while partner Johanna Richter looks to the judges to gauge their reaction.

Seawolf debaters take 2nd place in season opener

Colorado Springs, CO, September 28, 2015– The Seawolf Debate team took home 2nd place from this past weekend’s invitational in Colorado Springs, hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy. Four of the five teams that traveled to represent UAA prevailed over a field of 52 teams to the elimination phase of competition, with two teams in the final round in its first competition of the season.

Seawolves Nick Tabacaszka and Genevieve Mina take notes during prelims.
The Air Force Invitational drew a highly competitive field with over 30 schools from 13 different states competing. After six preliminary rounds of competition UAA teams had accumulated enough team points to be ranked as the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 14th place teams out of 52 and earned their spot in the Quarterfinal round. Though the team of Stacey Lucason and Hayley Cavitt lost in a tough quarterfinal round, their performance was significant given that this was Hayley’s first competition on behalf of UAA. Jacob Shercliffe and Matthieu Ostrander distinguished themselves by making it to the semifinal round, while Johanna Richter and Jonathon Taylor joined teammates Sarah Elton & Sam Erickson in the final round. Grappling with the question of whether or not we should open all borders to immigration, ultimately the judging panel gave the championship to a team from Regis University, but announced Elton & Erickson as the 2nd place team. Jonathon Taylor was individually awarded 5th Place Speaker and Sarah Elton was awarded 2ndPlace Speaker on a tie over the 104 speakers present. UAA’s remarkable performance as a squad earned them the honor of taking 2nd Place in the overall debate sweepstakes category.

This week the Seawolf Debate Program returns to its service agenda, hosting a public policy debate on the Anchorage Assembly’s Anti-Discrimination Legislation at The Bear Tooth on Wednesday. The next competition for the team will be the Claremont Colleges Invitational taking place October 9-10.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Amie Collins at 907-786-4354 or email at

Matthieu Ostrander speakers during semifinals while partner Jacob Shercliffe looks on.

'14-'15 Hart House IV
Seawolves compete at Hart House in Toronto 

Members of the Seawolf Debate Program traveled to the University of Toronto this past weekend (Oct 17-19) to compete in the Hart House Intervarsity Debating Tournament, the largest and most competitive regular-season debate tournament in Canada.  This year’s Hart House was attended by 100 teams representing universities across the US and Canada.

Three Seawolf Debate teams were entered into the competition where they debated motions considering whether all salaries should be made public, whether war journalists should be compelled to reveal their sources in trials involving suspected war criminals, and whether politicians should be assumed to be under oath when making any public statements thus being held criminally liable for perjury if they lie.

While all three teams represented UAA admirably the team of AJ Carver and Sarah Elton just missed the break to quarterfinals, finishing with the 10 points needed to break (out of 15 possible) but falling just short on the tie-breaker of team speaker points. The team of Johanna Richter (sophomore) and Sam Erickson (freshman) were right behind them finishing with 9 points and both teams finished the preliminary rounds of competition among the top-30% of all entered teams. This was the first ever collegiate tournament for Sam Erickson in what can only be considered a wonderful first effort at representing the Green and Gold, and making the team’s near miss to elimination rounds at such a highly competitive tournament all the more impressive.

The Seawolf Debaters will remain out east this weekend as they prepare for the North American Universities Debating Championship, hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at 786-4391.

The team poses for a quick photo at the Hart House Banquet.

'14-'15 Yale IV
Seawolves shine at Yale

Members of the Seawolf Debate Program traveled to New Haven, CT this past weekend (Oct 3-5) to compete in the Yale Intervarsity Debating Tournament, the largest and most competitive regular-season debate tournament on the US circuit.  Attended by 148 teams representing universities across the US, Canada and England, the Yale IV is an early-season test that typically predicts the success of a squad for the upcoming World and US Universities Debating Championships.

The SDP traveled four students to the competition where they took on teams over motions considering whether forced relocation is a desirable solution to ethnic conflict and whether the charter school movement has had a positive effect on public education.  Both Seawolf teams assembled an impressive record in preliminary rounds: Matt Ostrander and Jonathon Taylor completed the 6 preliminary rounds with a record of 15 points (out of a possible 18) to enter the elimination rounds seeded fourth (behind only Cambridge, the University of Toronto and Harvard) while AJ Carver and Sarah Elton assembled a 13 point record to advance as the 16th seed.

Both teams were on the Proposition side in the quarterfinal round, assigned to defend a motion about whether the federal government should provide financial support to religious organizations that undertake social work in impoverished areas.  Despite making their best cases, both Seawolf teams had to content themselves with quarterfinal finishes, a showing that still had them in the top 10% of teams attending.

This is the first time that the Seawolves have advanced two teams to the elimination rounds of the Yale IV, and the first time they’ve done so at all since 2010.  The current generation of Seawolf Debaters obviously intends to make their own contribution to the SDP’s tradition of excellence.

The SDP is in Anchorage this weekend to host a tournament at Goldenview Middle School as part of their Middle School Public Debate initiative.  The team will return to competition in two weeks when they embark on a road trip to participate in both the Hart House IV at the University of Toronto and the North American Debating Championships to be hosted by Hobart and William Smith College of Geneva, NY.  For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at 786-4391.

Read more about the team on the Seawolf Debate blog.