Trinity First-Year Debaters win National Junior Division Championship

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Apr. 24, 2013

Trinity First-Year Debaters win National Junior Division Championship

Students Nathan Rothenbaum and Margaret Solice team up to take first place in tournament open to students in their first two years of college debate.

By Russell Guerrero '83

Margaret Solice and Nathan RothenbaumSAN ANTONIO- Trinity first-year students Nathan Rothenbaum, from Oak Park, Ill., and Margaret Solice, from Pflugerville, Texas, have won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament  - no mean feat for two students who previously never partnered together during their first season on the University debate team.

The annual tournament, open to students in their first two years of participating in college debate, was held in March at the Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, Kan.

Though this was their first year on the Trinity debate team, both Rothenbaum and Solice had participated in debate all four years in high school.  They also said Trinity's debate program was a major factor for coming to the University.  "I knew several Trinity debaters at the time and saw how successful the program was," said Solice. "I knew it would offer plenty of opportunities for me."

"Trinity's debate program was, in all honesty, probably the main reason I came here," echoed Rothenbaum.

They had participated in tournaments during the debate season, but never as a team. Rothenbaum admitted that he was a little nervous about entering the national debate tournament with a new partner.  "But as the tournament went on, we developed a healthy chemistry that was both persuasive and effective."

Rothenbaum and Solice attended the tournament with Eric Robinson, assistant director of the Trinity debate program. Robinson said he felt very optimistic going into the event. "The fact that Maggie and Nathan hadn't debated together didn't overly concern me. I felt very confident we would do well or win the tournament."

As they left the preliminary rounds for the elimination rounds, Robinson told Rothenbaum and Solice to "enjoy the moment and not to be nervous."

After tournament officials announced the Trinity victory, Solice said it took a few seconds for the news to soak in.  "There's always a moment where you have to check yourself to make sure they actually said you won." She added, "In the end, it was nice to know that we accomplished what we set out to do."

Sarah Topp, assistant professor of human communication and theatre and director of Trinity's debate program praised the team.  "Nathan and Maggie are talented debaters who work hard, I knew that they would do well."

Topp said that the win bodes well for the future.  Many students who win the National Junior Division Debate Tournament have gone on to win the National Debate Tournament later in their careers.

-Russell Guerrero '83 is the public information officer at Trinity. He can be reached at