Ashley Novak was named the fourth-best speaker at the North American Championships, the prestigious title tournament for the best parliamentary debate schools in the United States and Canada. The tournament was held this past weekend in a frigid, snowy Syracuse, New York. The only woman in the top 15, she led her and partner Gordon Morrisette to the break as the 8th seeded team. After several octofinal upsets, including that of Novak & Morrisette, they finished 12th overall team in North America. They were joined in the break by teammates Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi, who finished 15th.
Here are the overall accomplishments at the 2013 North American Championships:
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 12th Team
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 15th Team
Ashley Novak – 4th Speaker
Sean Leonard – 7th Novice Speaker
It was the first time that Rutgers broke multiple teams at a title tournament in the history of the team. David Reiss and Kyle Bomeisl are the only other debaters in RUDU history to make elimination rounds at a title tournament, finishing 15th at Nationals in 2011 and 6th at North Americans in 2012.
Both Rutgers teams dropped on consensus decisions to Yale teams, who comprised six of the sixteen teams in the break. Harvard defeated Hart House (the debate team of the University of Toronto) in the final round to win the 2013 title. The tournament was also documented in the school newspaper of host school Syracuse University.
As an international tournament, the title tournament did not impact the overall national rankings of teams or speakers on the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA). Rutgers remains ranked 4th overall, just behind Harvard. Novak is 7th Speaker overall and Leonard is 3rd Novice overall.
This weekend, the team will send a large contingent to in-state rival The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), which was one of the best tournaments of the year for Rutgers last season.