Two Nevada Union Debate Teams Qualify for National Tournament

 The Union Newspaper, Grass Valley, CA

Caption: Nevada Union High School Debaters from left to right: Stephanie Ulatowski, Joe Fenner, Kris Colen, Colby Scanlon, and Teddy Hill-Weld.

Nevada Union High School Debaters from left to right: Stephanie Ulatowski, Joe Fenner, Kris Colen, Colby Scanlon, and Teddy Hill-Weld.


January 27, 2014

The Nevada Union High School Debate Team continues its record of success in the 2013/14 debate season. Two NU policy debate teams have just qualified for the NCFL Grand National Forensics Tournament, to be hosted in Chicago, Memorial Day weekend.

Six NU debaters competed at the NCFL qualifier tournament, hosted by McClatchy High School in Sacramento Jan. 25. The top four teams were invited to compete at the 2014 National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament.

The NU team of senior Kris Colen and sophomore Joe Fenner earned second place at Saturday’s tournament.

“It is really rare that a rural public school like Nevada Union can go to tournaments like NCFL Nationals. It’s a great honor,” said Fenner.

Sophomores Teddy Hill-Weld and Colby Scanlon won third place. Both NU teams are now planning to attend the national competition in Chicago in May. Freshmen Mack Nelson and Stephanie Ulatowski were on track to place at the qualifier but were unable to compete in the final round due to illness.

“The depth of our team really came through today. Five of our six debaters here are freshmen or sophomores, and these type of results speak to the future of this program,” said NU’s volunteer debate coach, Gabe Olson.

The NU Debate Boosters Club needs to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 each year to send its more than 30 debate team members and their coaches to an average of 10-15 tournaments. This year, the NU debate team has already attended and won awards at 11 local and national competitions, including five in the Los Angeles area and one at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. Upcoming tournaments include Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley in February, several Bay Area competitions in March, and the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Chicago in May.

“Competitive debate is a very expensive activity,” said NU Debate Booster president Janice Bedayn. “That is why most teams are from private schools with more funding for coaching, travel, and other debate activities. NU is one of the few nationally ranked public school teams. Our team is supported by a very hard-working parent booster club and several community donors, including the Nevada County Bar Association and the Commonwealth Financial Network, but additional funds are needed for the team to continue compete on the national circuit.”

To learn more about NU Debate or to contribute to the continued success of the team, please visit

Press Contact

Janice Bedayn

Nevada Union High School Debate Boosters Club


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