University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

UVM Debate Team Wins Vienna IV, Completes European Championship Sweep

LEFT: Sarina, Becca, Drew, Mariel swept the field:

Winning the Budapest Open was a great experience for the Vermont crew.  Little did they know that even more amazing events were in front of them. After staying in Budapest to participate in Austro-Hungarian Debate week, a series of lectures and debates on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, the LDU crew of Drew Adamczyk, Mariel Golden, Sarina Selleck, Becca White and coach Alfred Snider (along with supporter Bojana Skrt from Slovenia, who was also there with teams) took the train on Thursday from Budapest to Vienna. It was an easy ride over rolling Danubian countryside that deposited them in Vienna. They were met in Vienna by hosts from the Vienna Intervarsity Debate Tournament to be held at the University of Vienna. The crew made their way to the Wombat Hostel (it was great and then out for a delicious falafel meal.

The next day, Friday, the tournament began. The tournament is one of Europe’s best and most challenging, featuring 62 teams from 25 countries, from as far away as Hong Kong, Israel, Greece, Abu Dhabi, USA and all over the European continent. On Friday there were two rounds, and after both teams got a first in round one, they met stronger competition and both got a second in round two. As you may know, in the WUDC format there are four teams in each debate, two for the motion and two against, and the teams are ranked as 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. The debate is judged by a panel of three who come to the decision after a consensus discussion before disclosing the result to the four teams. It was a good start to the first day, as Vermont expected this tournament to be more difficult than Budapest, even though that had also been a very challenging tournament.

On Saturday there were four debates. In round three Becca and Sarina scored a strong first place while Drew and Mariel got a third place. In round four Drew and Mariel got a second while Sarina and Becca took a fourth. After four rounds each team had 8 team points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd and 0 for 4th). Knowing that it would take at least 12 points to reach the semifinals (the top eight teams) to debate on Sunday, both teams had their work cut out for them. And they delivered. Drew and Mariel got two firsts against the top of the draw while Sarina and Becca got a first and a third. Thus, Drew and Mariel finished on 14 points (2nd ranked team after prelims) while Sarina and Becca finished on 12 points (just squeaking through as the 8th ranked team).

The semifinals on Sunday were a complete new story. In separate semifinals, Becca and Sarina advanced (the top two teams in each debate advance) as a clear first, while Drew and Mariel did not advance after a 4-3 split amongst the seven judges. This put Becca and Sarina in the final against traditional European debate powerhouses RRIS (Israel), Babes Boyal (Romania) and Gottingen (Sweden). The final debate motion was that the new Pope should be elected by the members of the Catholic Church instead of by the College of Cardinals. Becca and Sarina were the first proposition team, with BBU in first opposition, Gottingen in second proposition and RRIS in second opposition. The debate was held in the ancient official formal hall of the University of Vienna, flanked by statues of Maria Teresa and King Rudolf. The media and hundreds were there to watch the debate.

See more pictures, videos, and read the full story here.