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Rutgers-Newark Debate Team: Making a Mark Among Its Peers

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It’s official. The 2011-2012 national sweepstakes standings of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) have been posted, and the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team ranks 25th in the nation among a field of 117 colleges and universities. CEDA, a national organization that promotes intercollegiate policy debate competitions throughout the academic year, bases its rankings on the yearlong performance of schools’ debate squads at regional and national tournaments. The Rutgers-Newark Debate Team is a member of the Northeast Region along with 19 other schools including Boston College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth University, New York University, and Princeton University.

“It's a tremendous sense of accomplishment that within two years we are ranked alongside schools like Harvard and Stanford,” comments Rutgers-Newark Debate Coach Kurt Shelton, who helped to launch the official Rutgers-Newark Debate Team in 2009. “We have a highly skilled group of debaters who possess an intense passion for their craft.” Kurt, a former collegiate debater at the University of North Texas, will pass the coaching baton this fall to Christopher Kozak, a School of Public Affairs and Administration graduate assistant who served as the team’s assistant coach during the 2011-2012 academic year.

The 2011-2012 Rutgers-Newark Debate Team consisted of 12 active debaters.

Zachary McCord of Burlington, New Jersey, is a senior at Rutgers-Newark majoring in English and history.

Ashley Everett of Miami, Florida, is a junior at Rutgers-Newark majoring in biology, history and anthropology.

Chris Powers of Nashua, New Hampshire, is a junior at Rutgers-New Brunswick majoring in German and French.

Carlos Astacio of Newark, New Jersey, is a sophomore at Rutgers-Newark majoring in philosophy and public service.

Aaron Kraut of Marlboro, New Jersey, is a sophomore at Rutgers-New Brunswick majoring in philosophy.

Kiranmayee Kurinella of Fairfield, New Jersey, is a sophomore at Rutgers-Newark majoring in psychology.

Christopher Randall of Baltimore, Maryland, is a sophomore at Rutgers-Newark majoring in public service.

Elijah Smith of Newark, New Jersey, is a sophomore at Rutgers-Newark majoring in public service.

Kevon Haughton of Newark, New Jersey, is a freshman at Rutgers-Newark who has not yet declared his major.

Devane Murphy of Newark, New Jersey, is a freshman at Rutgers-New Brunswick who has not yet declared his major.

Brian Smith of Newark, New Jersey, is a freshman at Rutgers-Newark majoring in criminal justice.

Chris Williams of Camden, New Jersey, is a freshman at Rutgers-Newark who has not yet declared his major.

In addition to their impressive CEDA ranking, the debaters garnered the following recognition:

  • Randall and Smith took second place in the varsity division at the competition held at George Mason University.
  • Astacio and Haughton advanced to the semi-finals of the junior varsity/novice division of the tournament hosted by West Virginia University.
  • Kraut and Murphy advanced to the semi-finals of the junior varsity division of the contest held at Binghamton University.
  • Murphy earned top speaker award at the West Point tournament.
  • Powers won top speaker honors at the Liberty University contest.

With the prospect of 11 of the 12 debaters returning to the team in the fall of 2012, an ensuing year of stellar performance and results is greatly anticipated.