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          CWRU debaters prepare for two Berkeley tournaments

          Kaitlyn Estes

          Issue date: 3/19/10 Section: News
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          The CWRU Debate Team is kicking into high gear for two prominent tournaments that will occur throughout the next week. The team's first arguments will be made on Saturday at the American Forensic Association National Debate Tournament (NDT) at the University of California, Berkeley. The NDT is considered the most elite debate competition at the collegiate level. Only 78 teams of two debaters each are chosen to compete at the NDT, based on their performances at regional and district debates earlier in the season. CWRU will be represented by seniors Andrew Wolf and David Mattern, who have been debate partners for the last two and a half years.

          Wolf has been anticipating this weekend for some time.

          "David and I have worked for four years to improve our debate skills," he declared proudly. "We have finally earned the opportunity to test them at the most competitive tournament in the country."

          Immediately following the NDT, two other teams from the club will fly out to Berkeley to compete at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Debate Tournament (CEDA).

          Both Wolf and Mattern have extensive background in competitive public speaking. In addition to four years on the CWRU Debate Team, they each participated in some form of competition in high school; Mattern participated in forensics while Wolf joined his high school's debate team at the urging of a teacher.

          Wolf, Mattern, and the rest of the Case Debate Team are in a unique position during competition: the team been functioning for the past few years without a coach. In fact, of the 78 teams who qualified for the NDT, Wolf and Mattern were the only team to qualify without a coach.

          "It's difficult to compete when the other team has more researching debaters, a multi-member coaching staff, and, in some cases, a debate building on campus," Wolf explained. "Our entire team has worked hard this season to maintain a competitive edge."

          In addition to preparing for competition through practice and research, the team has to organize registration and transportation for any tournaments they want to compete in. They also reach out to the community, helping to run and judge tournaments at local high schools. Wolf occasionally goes back to his high school to help judge or coach his old team. He also does all he can to help the development of the team here. After his debates at the NDT, he will be remaining at Berkeley for CEDA, assisting the other two teams from CWRU with research and any other concerns that arise. The CWRU Debate Team's unity, perseverance and absolute determination to thrive truly validate just how much they value what they do.
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