May 21, 2022

Mary Wash Debate Team Zooms to National Victory

UMW students Avery Dover (left), a freshman from Wichita, Kansas, and Ainsley Rucker, a junior from Winchester, Virginia, finished first last week in the American Debate Association’s Fall Championship Tournament.

UMW students Avery Dover (left), a freshman from Wichita, Kansas, and Ainsley Rucker, a junior from Winchester, Virginia, finished first last week in the American Debate Association’s Fall Championship Tournament.

University of Mary Washington students have made it convincingly clear: They know how to debate.

In keeping with a longstanding winning tradition, the UMW Debate Team last week wrapped up back-to-back weekends of competitions with a first-place finish at the American Debate Association’s Fall Championship Tournament, proving they’ve adapted successfully to an online format.

Ainsley Rucker and Avery Dover were undefeated throughout the preliminary rounds and entered the elimination rounds as top seeds. They also each received individual speaking recognitions – Rucker, a junior from Winchester, earned second place, and Dover, a freshman from Wichita, Kansas, was the top speaker. The tournament, held via Zoom, attracted teams from states across the country, including California, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts. The pair debated teams from University of Houston, Missouri State University, University of Minnesota and Samford University.

The tournament’s topic was antitrust reform, and UMW’s team successfully argued both sides of the issue. In the finals, Rucker and Dover effectively advocated for antitrust reforms regarding patents, winning a 3-0 decision over a team from Liberty University. This was their second tournament win and final round against Liberty in November. The duo recently competed in that school’s debate tournament, besting teams from James Madison University in the semifinals, and Liberty in the finals. Read more.

About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.