Not many students can say they can talk their way to the top.
But for College of Arts and Sciences seniors Alex Taubes and Greg Meyer, talking is what they do best.
The duo holds the number one spot for Team of the Year in the American Parliamentary Debate Association, with the Yale University debate team, a fierce rival of the Boston University Debate Society, in a close second.
BUDS won first place at tournaments at Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University, each against more than 50 teams, and travels all over the country for tournaments throughout the school year.
The APDA assigns points to teams based on the number of rounds a team survives and the tournament’s size, Taubes said in a phone interview while competing at the College of William and Mary last weekend.
These tournaments helped them rake up enough points for their first-place ranking, but Yale’s debate team can seize first place before the tournament circuit comes to an end.
“In the past, the team that’s always been the dominating team throughout history has been the Yale team,” Taubes said. “Ever since I’ve been on the team, they’ve sort of been our rival. As of today I think we have just as much as a reputation as them for winning.”
Taubes also serves as president of the APDA, a collegiate debate league with members from 50 schools. The team travels across the nation for tournaments throughout the school year.
Taubes was awarded Speaker of the Year after competing against dozens of students from national universities.
“Alex is probably one of the best debaters I’ve ever seen on the circuit,” said Meyer, a member of the team since freshman year.
Meyer is the director of two BU tournaments on March 25 and 26, coincidentally the last chance for the Yale team to pull ahead of Meyer and Taubes.
“The BU team has been a bunch of really great people,” Meyer said. “It’s been a fun group of people to hang out with for four years.”
Meyer said one of his proudest accomplishments was winning a semifinal round at New York University, which involved a case with suspected al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki.
CAS sophomore Alison Kennedy , another BUDS member, said she has seen firsthand the powerful eloquence of the two seniors.
“I think the main thing about Alex and Greg that makes them so great is that as a team they have a lot of momentum,” Kennedy said. “When you’re around them you feel like you want to be on their side.”
Last weekend the team made it to quarterfinals at the College of William and Mary, but lost to a Rutgers University team, Taubes said.
The team is now practicing new cases for the national tournament at West Point Academy at the end of April.