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'15-'16 George Washington IV
This past weekend the Seawolf Debate Program sent three teams to Washington, D.C. to compete at the George Washington University Invitational debate tournament on behalf of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Two of those teams prevailed into the top 4 spots over a field of 48 teams to earn finalist awards, along with individual speaker awards.
The GWU Invitational drew a competitive field with schools from all corners of the U.S. ranging as far east as Florida and west as California, including teams from John Hopkins, Duke, New York University and Morehouse College. Facing tough competition on topics such as the Syrian crisis to colonization on Mars should life be found, the Seawolf Debate teams sailed through the pack. 
At the end of five preliminary rounds of debate the team of Johanna Richter & Jonathon Taylor were ranked 11th, Matthieu Ostrander and Jacob Shercliffe ranked 6th, and Sarah Elton & Sam Erickson ranked 4th, earning all three teams a spot in the quarterfinal round. Ultimately it was Elton, Erickson, Ostrander and Shercliffe who would prevail on to represent UAA in the final round against Patrick Henry College and University of Vermont. A video of their performance in the final round is available on YouTube here. While the champion title was eventually awarded to Patrick Henry College our debaters distinguished themselves further as individual speakers. Of the 96 speakers in attendance, Sarah Elton’s scores placed her 9th and Jonathon Taylor’s placed him 4th.

The weekend tournament was by all measures a great success, and bodes well for the Seawolf Debate Program as we eye our final two tournaments of the fall semester: the Seattle University Invitational in early December and the World Universities Debating Championship held this year in Thessaloniki, Greece in late December. 

Romig wins first Anchorage Middle School Public Debate Program Invitational of season

October 16, 2015

A student from Hanshew Middle School (seated left of podium) opens debate against Romig Middle School (seated right of podium) for the final round of the Begich Middle School Public Debate Program Invitational.
The Seawolf Debate Program was proud to partner with Begich Middle School to host the first Anchorage Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) tournament of the year. A team from Romig Middle School won the invitational, prevailing over 23 teams in their first appearance on the Anchorage middle school debate circuit.
The Seawolf Debate Program piloted the Anchorage MSPDP in 2011 with only three middle schools. Since then the initiative has grown to include nine participating schools with roughly 60 middle school students at each tournament. New to the program this year are Romig Middle School, Colony Middle School and Wendler Middle School. Each invitational features four preliminary rounds of competition that lead up to a semifinal and final round. Students tackle tough subjects such as right-to-die legislation, the morality of sports hunting and jus solicitizenship. Representatives from the participating middle schools will be invited to UAA for a one-day competition that will crown the inaugural Anchorage MSPDP Champions in late April. The next invitational will be hosted by Goldenview Middle School Dec. 12.
To facilitate the development of middle school debate, Seawolf Debate provides tournament administration support, volunteer judges and curriculum support for middle school teachers interested in coaching a team. Assistant Coach John Schultz hosted a judge training workshop prior to the competition that drew in a plethora of community volunteers and high school debate students who gave their Saturday over to mentoring the next generation of great debaters through judging the debates and providing feedback. The experience was rewarding for all involved.
“It was so incredible to see all of the debate enthusiasm from middle schoolers,” remarked West High debater Kira Hamilton.
This initiative fits well with the Seawolf Debate Program’s other efforts to promote academic debating. With programs like the Alaska High School Drama, Debate and Forensics Championships hosted each year by UAA and the Cabin Fever Debates, an intramural debating tournament for UAA students not active on the Seawolf competitive debating team, the middle school initiative will provide a continuous track for students interested in debating from sixth grade through their graduation from UAA.
'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.


Read more about the team on the Seawolf Debate blog.