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MNUDL Students Crush Goals, Connect with Urban Debaters at the Capitol

42 urban debate teams gathered from across the nation at Georgetown University in Washington, DC for the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues Championship Tournament this weekend. The Minnesota Urban Debate League was represented well by one St. Paul and one Minneapolis team! Read on to learn our exciting results!

Mason and Sam stand in front of the Washington Monument, posing with their awards.
Mason Eischens & Sam Groven of Highland Park Senior High School advanced to quarterfinals of the tournament. Mason also received a speaker award.

Highland Park’s Mason & Sam Advance to the Top 8

Congratulations to Sam Groven & Mason Eischens from Highland Park Senior High School, coached by Ursula Becker, Malik Akintola, & Lily Endo, who advanced to quarterfinals! Sam & Mason qualified to attend this tournament because of their strong competitive record over the high school policy debate season.

“Our goal for going into NAUDL was ultimately to experience and diversify our exposure to different styles of debate.  It was also to meet new people from across the nation, and to break to out rounds at the tournament. We ended up accomplishing these goals throughout the tournament, and were exposed to a multitude of interesting arguments and strategies that we had not gotten the opportunity to experience from within Minnesota,” says Sam.

They surpassed 34 other highly skilled teams to reach the quarterfinals! Sam Groven finished as the 28th place individual speaker. Mason Eischens also earned the 14th place individual speaker award! Speaker awards are given to students who earn high points for their argumentation and public speaking skills.

Beyond their outstanding competitive results, Sam & Mason had a rewarding experience at NAUDL. “For me personally, my favorite moment from the tournament was realizing that a large amount of the students there experienced similar things within the debate space because they were from other UDL’s,” says Sam.

Sandy and Zuko pose in front of a monument with the name "Roosevelt" inscribed in a jovial manner
No matter where they are, Zuko Buechler and Sandy Bolton represent Roosevelt High School with pride!

Roosevelt’s Sandy & Zuko Fulfill Goals, Explore D.C.

Sandy Bolton & Zuko Buechler of Roosevelt High School, coached by Joey Salzer, Nick Oberly, and Tiana Bellamy, competed in the tournament along with the Sam & Mason. The MNUDL community chose Sandy & Zuko to represent the MNUDL at nationals tournament because of how well they embody our mission and values.

“Our official debate goal was to go 3-3 at this tournament, which we succeeded at,” says Sandy. “We also just generally wanted to hear and learn about different arguments which we totally did and it was really cool.”

We are proud they were able to share their advocacy! Sandy & Zuko finished as the 17th overall team at the tournament. Sandy finished as the 26th place individual speaker and Zuko as the 39th.

The Roosevelt team also found a some time to take full advantage of the locale. “My personal favorite experience was going to the National Zoo,” says Sandy.

We’re so proud of Sam, Mason, Zuko, and Sandy for their performances and grateful NAUDL provided them the opportunity to connect with fellow urban debaters from across the nation! 

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