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Debate team succeeds at national tournament

Debate Team National
The 2013 UNG debate team

This March, the University of North Georgia debate team finished 13th nationally out of 87 colleges and universities competing at the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament held March 13-26 at Webster University in Webster Groves, MO.

Eleven UNG students competed in the tournament representing the UNG Georgia Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, an honorary society that recognizes students with high achievement in academics, community service, and debate competition.

The team brought home 12 total awards, including an excellent sweepstakes award – the first overall award claimed by the team at a national tournament – the R. David Ray Award for Outstanding New Chapter, and a Pi Kappa Delta National All-American Team nomination for junior Mason Roszel.

Dr. Tom Preston, the debate team advisor, commended his team for their hard work and strong performance.

"Every member of the team contributed to the Outstanding New Chapter Award from Pi Kappa Delta, as well as our 13th place finish in debate," Preston said. "One of the highlights of the season is that Cadet Mason Roszel, who takes classes both in Gainesville and Dahlonega, was recognized by Pi Kappa Delta as an All-American.  Only seven students nationwide were recognized with this honor, and it reflects Mason's scholarship, service, sportsmanship, and character as well as his success in the debate round."

With nine of the 11 students who attended the tournament only in their first year of collegiate debate competition, Preston said the team is poised to expand on this year's success.

"We very much look forward to institutionalizing our successful on- and off-campus programs for the entire UNG community, in ways that directly serve the mission and core values of the University of North Georgia," Preston said.

Dr. Jeff Marker, head of the department of Communication, Media and Journalism, praised the team and its advisor.

"Our department is very proud of the debate team," he said. "Our communication faculty do an excellent job of teaching the communication principles and strategies that feed into these extracurricular competitions, and Dr. Preston devotes much of his time outside the classroom to coaching, advising, and traveling with the team. Over the past several years, he has built that team into a perennial national championship contender."

Other UNG students who competed in the event were Fernando Gonzalez, Max Mager, Will Rigdon, Consepcion Rodriguez, Anthony Harden, Maria Palacios, Robert Johnson, Andre Gonzales, Erik Lomas, and Kiran Singh.

"I have been very honored to be associated with a group that has stressed community service and competitive success," Preston said. "Above all, I commend each and every member of the UNG Debate Team for a successful and memorable season."

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