Wake Forest has received two automatic bids to next month’s National Debate Tournament for finishing the debate season among the nation’s top 16 teams.
Two two-member teams from Wake Forest’s debate squad qualified: the team of sophomore Michael Carlotti, from Erie, Penn., and senior Carlos Maza, from Miami, Fla.; and the team of seniors Samuel Crichton, from Shreveport, La., and William Sears, from Lexington, Mass.
They will compete in the National Debate Tournament March 20 to 23 at the University of California at Berkeley. The National Debate Tournament Committee determines the top teams based on their season record.
Wake Forest and the University of Kansas are the only universities with two teams in the top 16. The entire Wake Forest debate squad has the third-best record in the country this year.
Wake Forest won the national debate championship in 2008 and 1997, and is among a small number of schools that has qualified most often for the national finals.
Wake Forest has had final four finishes at the tournament in 1955, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2006, 2008 and 2009. The program has produced numerous top individual debaters.
The teams are coached by JP Lacy, interim director of debate, and interim debate coach Alex Lamballe (’09), national finalist in 2008 and 2009.
In addition to its nationally ranked debate program, Wake Forest also sponsors programs for high school students, such as the National Earlybird Forensics Tournament. The tournament, which draws thousands of high school debaters to campus each year, is one of the top 10 high school debate tournaments in the country.