Mason Debate is a back-to-back two gold champion

by Jacquelyn Poapst

Mason Debate is a back-to-back two gold champion
Mason Debate is a back-to-back two gold champion this weekend! If you remember, last weekend we ended the ADA Championship tournament as winners of both the novice and junior varsity divisions. This weekend, at the Cross Examination Debate Association Junior Varsity and Novice Nationals tournament, we won both divisions as well!
Congratulations to Ky Buckner and Noah Graham for winning the Junior Varsity division, as well as the two other GMU teams in semifinals, who ended the tournament as 3rd and 4th place finalists - Jack Daou and Richard Hoang, and Tiff Imbimbo and Adit Singh! Also congratulations to our quarterfinalists, Shahd Joari and Darshi Patel, and Céilí Peake and Lindsay Lowry! If you are keeping count, that means GMU had five out of eight of the teams in the elite eight at the end of the year national tournament!
Special congratulations to Aiden Breneman-Pennas and Tim Phillips for being both the ADA and CEDA novice champions of the 2020-2021 debate season! These two started their college debate careers in the most tumultuous time one could imagine, which was an entire season debating online. They stuck with it and came out as the top novice team in the country! 
At this tournament, the odds were stacked against them a bit. As the sole novice team competing at nationals for GMU, Aiden and Tim had to trudge through 10 debates to claim this title. The bracket did not look favorable in elimination rounds. Liberty University entered the elite eight with half of the spots! Over the next three debates, Aiden and Tim knocked two of those teams out of the tournament, and ended with a win in the finals debate against a great team from James Madison University. It was great to see so many teams from our fellow Virginia schools make it to elimination rounds. It is a testament to the strength of competition in the District VII debate division, where our universities prioritize novice debate.
We also had an amazing amount of individual speaking accomplishments. In novice, Aiden was the 9th overall speaker. In JV, we earned SIX of the top 10 speaker awards!
Shahd Joari (Top Speaker), Ky Buckner (2nd Speaker), Noah Graham (4th Speaker), Adit Singh (6th Speaker), Céilí Peake (8th Speaker), Jack Daou (9th Speaker).
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