Debate Team Takes Home Accolades at National Tournament

UT Dallas Debate Team

UT Dallas seniors Jacob Loehr (left) and Anthony Ogbuli competed recently at the American Debate Association national tournament. Ogbuli was honored as the Debater of the Year, and Loehr was voted the 10th overall speaker at the tournament.

Two members of the UT Dallas debate team received honors at the American Debate Association national tournament and finished in the top eight at the competition.

During the tournament, held March 10-14 at Boston College, seniors Anthony Ogbuli and Jacob Loehr accumulated a record of 4-2 in the preliminary debates, beating teams from George Mason University, the University of Georgia, Emory University and Georgetown University.

Ogbuli was honored as the Debater of the Year — the first time that a UT Dallas student has won the award. Loehr was voted the 10th overall speaker at the tournament, which featured 65 teams from 20 schools.

“It meant a lot to the team to see both our seniors have a great ADA,” debate coach Scott Herndon said. “Anthony’s award was a bit of a surprise but well deserved. He and Jacob have given everything they have to the debate team. They deserve the recognition. I’m excited for them, and the success at ADA is good momentum heading into the National Debate Tournament.”

Ogbuli said the honor surprised him. He was hoping a friend from Harvard University would win, considering teams are barred from voting for themselves or their teammates.

“When they called my name, I was pretty shocked,” he said. “It was amazing to be recognized by receiving this award. Being acknowledged by my fellow competitors and their coaches really just gives credence to the passion that I have for this activity. It’s something that I try to share with the people around me not just by being a fierce competitor but by connecting and establishing friendships with all the great people in the debate community.”

Ogbuli has debated for almost a decade throughout his time in high school and college. This was the penultimate tournament of his career. 

Herndon said the American Debate Association national tournament is one of two major end-of-the-season contests in the college debate circuit with the National Debate Tournament finishing the season.

Last year, Ogbuli and Loehr advanced to the Double-Octo finals at the National Debate Tournament out of 78 teams. This year’s tournament will take place Friday through Monday at Binghamton University.

In college debate, two teams face off on a general topic — one taking the affirmative position, the other the negative side. The topic for this season is “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce military presence in one or more of the following: The Horn of Africa; Northeast Asia; The Arab States of the Persian Gulf.”

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