Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2009-03-04

A Samford University debate team won five of six rounds at a recent regional qualifying tournament to earn a bid to the National Debate Tournament, and two squad members brought home debater of the year awards.

Teammates Logan Gramzinski and Dan Bagwell were among a field of 40 teams competing for five available national bids at the District 6/Regional Qualifying tournament in Atlanta Feb. 28-March 1. They will represent Samford in national competition in Austin, Texas, March 27-31.

That Gramzinski is a junior and Bagwell a freshman makes the achievement especially significant, says debate coach Abi Williams, since most debaters who qualify for national competition are seniors.

Their tournament record included defeating two top 25 teams from the University of Georgia and also beating teams from Vanderbilt University, Appalachian State University and the University of Florida.

Gramzinski was named regional varsity debater of the year, an honor voted by other debaters, coaches and judges in the region. He also was named second best varsity speaker in the region on the basis of points accumulated during the year.

Samford debater Jayme Cloninger was named regional junior varsity debater of the year. Ben Johnson was named regional second place junior varsity speaker.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.