After finding an error in the rankings, the UR Debate Team has come out on top of the National Debate Tournament rankings. With 557 points, they beat out their largest competitor, Northwestern, who had 555.

“One coach, Ken [Johnson], realized that one of the tournaments was wrong by two points,” said freshman debater Ilana Kaplan-Shain. “And then one of our debators, Steven D’Amico, checked all the points and found they were off by three points overall.”

The difference in points switched their second place ranking with Northwestern’s first after the mistake was verified by the NDT officials. Northwestern has until Monday to contest the difference.

UR is also ranked in the Cross Examination Debate Association, where they are tied with Northwestern for second behind Michigan University.

“The current rankings reflect the work of the team this year,” senior Mark Entel said. “There is a commitment and the rankings show that.”

Junior debator Christy Weber felt similiarly. “[The rankings] show a lot about the strength of our novice team.”

Entel and Weber were among the debators who attended the CEDA National Tournament held at California State-Fullerton April 5-8.

This was the last tournament of the year and included competition on the national level.

“It was tough, but it was a lot of fun,” Entel said. “They are the hardest but in some ways the most rewarding.”

Entel, and his partner and junior Thomas Marples, went 4-4 at the tournament. Weber and John Vermitsky went 5-3 as did the team of seniors Amy Novak and Camber Warren.

The team is now looking forward to next year, with both a competitive and financial focus.

To defray the growing costs of a growing team, the team plans on having fundraisers in addition to the endowment received last semester from alumni Marty Messenger.

“Everything we did this year, we wouldn’t have been able to do without his generous endowment,” Kaplan-Shain said.

Miller can be reached at

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