Debate Team Finishes Season With National Event

Debate team members Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli

Sophomores Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli represented UT Dallas at the National Debate Tournament, where 78 of the country's best teams competed.

The UT Dallas debate team finished its 2013-2014 season with an 11th consecutive appearance at the National Debate Tournament (NDT).

Sophomores Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli, who competed as a team, ended the tournament with four wins and four losses, which put them in the top half of teams. They entered the last day of preliminary debates with a 3-3 record and defeated the University of Vermont in round 7 to set up a crucial 4-3 debate against Northwestern University. They were defeated by Northwestern in the eighth round to narrowly miss qualifying for an elimination debate. 

The top 78 teams in the nation were invited to the tournament held at the University of Indiana Bloomington. UT Dallas defeated the U.S. Military Academy, James Madison University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Vermont. 

“The NDT result was really quite impressive. Jacob and Anthony were in it all the way to the end, fighting. They fell just a little short of advancing to elimination rounds, which was our goal,” said Herndon, debate program director. “I have to remind myself that Jacob and Anthony are just sophomores and they have two more years of eligibility and enormous potential. They’ll be back next year, and I expect us to make waves at the very highest levels.”

(left) Scott Herndon and Jacob Loehr, UT Dallas Debate Team

Scott Herndon, debate program director, works with Loehr.

Phil Samuels, who finished his first year as UT Dallas head coach at the tournament, led the sophomore team. Samuels has coached previously at the University of Minnesota, Illinois State University and the University of Kansas, where his team won the NDT. For the last four years, he has also been an assistant coach for the College Preparatory School in Berkeley, Calif.

The weekend before the NDT, the team attended the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national tournament. The two sophomores recorded six wins and two losses and advanced deep into the tournament before losing to a team from The University of Texas at Austin.

Two other UT Dallas teams competed at CEDA — Mariah McHenry and Rolando Velasquez, and Daniel Becker and DeMarcus Powell. Both teams had records of three wins and five losses.

“I’m proud of the team as a whole,” Herndon said. “It takes effort from everyone to put ourselves in a position to qualify to the NDT. To qualify 11 straight years to a tournament that is only attended by the best teams in the country says a lot — not only about our program but also the University's commitment to excelling in collegiate debate.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].