NYCUDL Alumni Geordano Liriano Wins National Debate Championships (Undefeated!)

Iowa Now, March 22nd 2018

Four University of Iowa students, all members of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the UI, shared in the national title of the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament March 18 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Two UI pairs, Geordano Liriano and Sam Gustavson and Coco Christophersen and Brooke Kimbrough, shared the national title,  only the second time in the history of debate that two teams from the same school have done so. 

Liriano and Gustavson went undefeated during the preliminary debates, earning an 8-0 record. After defeating debate powerhouses such as Cornell and USC, they assumed the No. 1 seed for the elimination rounds. They finished the tournament with a perfect 12-0 record.

Christophersen and Kimbrough completed the preliminary debates with a 7-1 record, losing to last year’s national champions from Rutgers University. Seeded third in preliminary debates, they avenged their loss in the Elite Eight on a 3-0 decision.

In addition to securing the UI’s first co-national champions title, each debater won individual tournament honors. Akin to football’s Heisman Trophy, debate honors its competitors with speaker awards acknowledging the best debaters in the nation. All four UI students earned top 20 awards. Kimbrough placed second, Gustavson fifth, Liriano ninth, and Christophersen 18th. Being juniors, all four will return to the team next year.

The tournament was the culmination of a year of intensive research and argument planning on the national debate topic ”Resolved: The United States federal government should establish national health insurance in the United States.”

Seventy-five teams from across the country participated in the national tournament.

The A. Craig Baird Debate Forum is directed by Coordinator of Forensics Paul Bellus and Director of Debate David Hingstman. Brian Rubaie is the UI debate coach, assisted by graduate student coaches Kristiana Baez and Tyler Snelling in the Department of Communication Studies.

About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

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