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UTSA debaters
From left are UTSA debaters Matt Reichle and Philip DiPiazza.

UTSA debaters to participate in national tourney

By Skip Eno
UTSA Director of Debate

(March 20, 2007)--For the first time in the UTSA debate program's 27-year history, UTSA debaters qualified for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) championship March 28-April 4 in Dallas.

The NDT committee contacted UTSA last week with the news that Laredo senior Matt Reichle and Dumas senior Philip DiPiazza were chosen as a second-round at-large team in the national field of the 72 best U.S. teams. UTSA's inclusion in the NDT is similar to a NCAA bubble-team invitation, which can occur when a team has a recent winning streak that improves its ranking.

The two senior debaters worked hard to earn the end-of-season honor. "We're going to the dance!" said a grinning Reichle. UTSA's inclusion in the elite national field of 72 provides wide visibility for UTSA and the debate program.

Reichle and DiPiazza narrowly missed qualifying for the national tournament at the NDT District III Qualifying Tournament hosted at UT Austin in February. If any district qualifying team had been unable to attend, UTSA would have been the first replacement team.

Because of their strong national tournament schedule and records against debate powerhouse teams such as Harvard, Northwestern and Emery, UTSA was invited to compete, along with bubble teams from Baylor, Boston College, Gonzaga, Wake Forest and 11 other teams.

Before NDT, UTSA will compete in the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national championship tournament hosted March 20-26 by the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The CEDA championship does not require a qualification process or invitation. In 1996, UTSA placed fourth in the tournament, which features more than 200 teams.

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