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Georgia Debate Union wins national championship

Alan Flurry

The Georgia Debate Union won the American Debate Association national championship tournament this past weekend in Athens. Nearly 100 teams from around the country attended the American Debate Association's end of the year championship tournament, hosted at the University of Georgia.  

Seniors Advait Ramanan and Swapnil Agrawal won the American Debate Association's varsity division national championship and finished the tournament undefeated, with wins over the University of Kentucky, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and Indiana University. Advait Ramanan was also recognized as the top overall speaker in the varsity division.  

Ramanan and Agrawal are the first team in the history of the Georgia Debate Union to win a national championship in intercollegiate debate.  

Their teammates, seniors Nathan Rice and Johnnie Stupek, also had a tremendously successful ADA Nationals, finishing in third place with wins over Northwestern University, the United States Naval Academy, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky.  

All 4 UGA students finished in the top 5 speakers in the varsity division. 

"Ramanan and Agrawal are amongst the best debate teams in the long history of the Georgia Debate Union, and I am delighted that they will be able to graduate as champions of the American Debate Association," said Edward Panetta, head of the department of communications studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Not many programs ever attain this level of success at a national championship tournament. Hays Watson and our coaches should be commended for their work with these teams and all the debate teams that represented UGA over the course of the six month competitive season."

In addition to winning the ADA National Tournament, the Georgia Debate Union won the season-long award for best Varsity Debate Program in the American Debate Association, another first for the debate program at UGA.

"I am extremely proud of the accomplishment of Advait and Swapnil as well as their teammates Nathan and Johnnie. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with hard working, intelligent, and talented students at UGA these past few years," said head coach Hays Watson. "The team is excited that we were able to bring a national championship to Athens." 

The Georgia Debate Union will seek to secure a second national championship tournament victory at the National Debate Tournament, which will be held at the University of Minnesota March 21-25. 

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