The Fresno State Barking Bulldogs capped off a banner year by announcing the debate team of Aaron Lowe and Aranveer Litt were invited to the National Debate Tournament. The annual tournament was to be held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia but was canceled due to COVID-19.

“This is an incredible achievement for both Aaron and Aranveer, as well as our university and the debate team,” said Tom Boroujeni, director of debate, Department of Communication.  “Aaron and Aranveer, I am extremely proud of your hard work and dedication. Congratulations on this incredible achievement! You make us all proud.”

While Lowe and Litt were unable to compete, they did receive their silver mugs which are traditionally given to participants at the tournament. They are the second team in the history of Fresno State to qualify for the nationals.

The Lowe and Litt team also won the All-American Debater of the Year award from the Cross Examination Debate Association. The award was given to 24 debaters nationwide who represent the best of intercollegiate debate by demonstrating competitive success, academic success, good conduct and contributions to their squad.

“It is an honor that two out of 24 recipients were from Fresno State. Aaron and Aranveer both represent the best that the debate community has to offer,” said Boroujeni.

In addition, Lowe received the 2019-20 Varsity Debater of the Year at Fresno State. He will be inducted into the National Communication Association’s honor society Lambda Pi Eta and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Lowe will receive his B.A. in communication this year and he was accepted to several master’s programs.

Behind every winning team are fantastic coaches. This year, the graduate student coach Primavera Leal Martinez was recognized as the Cross Examination Debate Association’s Matt Grindy Outstanding Graduate Student Coach. The award recognizes both the pedagogical and competitive contributions to the growth and development of policy debate by a graduate student coach, who is balancing their obligations to their schoolwork and that of their program. Martinez was also named the 2019-20 Outstanding Debate Coach of the Year at Fresno State. She will be inducted into the National Communication Association’s Lambda Pi Eta honor society.

“Primavera has been an amazing coach and an incredible student,” said Boroujeni. “All of this success would not have been possible without her.”

The 2019-20 debate season was one for the history books. The Barking Bulldog policy debate teams won four tournament championships and finished in the top three 10 times.

“Overall, this year has been the second most successful year in the history of the team,” said   Boroujeni. “The debaters put in an incredible amount of work and it paid off. I am incredibly proud of them.”

The Fresno State Barking Bulldogs is made up of five, two-person policy debate teams who travel to tournaments and 10 members who support the teams through research. The team aims to enhance students’ skills in policy construction, argumentation and advocacy. The program strives to compete at the highest levels of national competition while continuing to exercise an “open door” policy for students with little or no debate experience.