The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) made the elimination rounds at a “Pro-Am” tournament for the fifth time in five years this weekend, this time at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M). Sean Leonard and Vidhaath Sripathi finished 8th in the second Pro-Am of the year, which is a tournament where all teams are comprised of one varsity and one novice partner.
Here are the official Rutgers results for the tournament:
Sean Leonard & Vidhaath Sripathi – 8th Team
Sean Leonard – 1st Speaker
Suraj Oza – 7th Novice Speaker
Vidhaath Sripathi – 10th Novice Speaker
The top speaker title for Leonard is his third ever in just his fourth semester of debating for Rutgers, giving him the most top speaker awards of any Rutgers debater in history. He surpasses the still-active senior Ashley Novak, who has two career top speaker awards, both won earlier this year. Farhan Ali ’11, Chris Bergman ’13, and current RUDU President Quinn Maingi each have earned one.
Sripathi, meanwhile, becomes the thirteenth debater with points toward Nationals qualification this year for Rutgers. RUDU set a team record last year with fourteen debaters on this list, including a record seven who qualified for Nationals. Currently, Leonard, Novak, Maingi, and Russell Potter are qualified, though five more debaters are over halfway to clinching the points necessary to qualify.
Rutgers’ first break to elimination rounds in its recent revival of the last five years was at the Pro-Am tournament in the fall of 2009, at American University. There David Reiss ’11 joined Bergman in the Pro-Am break, finishing in quarterfinals. Bergman was later on the varsity end of a semifinal appearance with Maingi at the 2011 contest, while Novak and Leonard made semifinals the next year at American as well. Novak and Lin Lan made octofinals earlier this fall at American, making it four straight Pro-Am breaks with this weekend’s performance by Leonard and Sripathi.
RUDU will be competing at two of the three tournaments this weekend on the APDA schedule, including a non-Pro-Am at American and the second annual Albany tournament, where Rutgers is defending champion.