I remember Rob saying once that holding the top seed at NPDA is a curse. I checked up on this, because that’s what I do, and discoverd that up until 2004 he was right. No first seed had won the tournament before then, and most had met unfortunate ends at the hand of no-name teams in early outrounds.

Then Ian and Marie, who in my and MA’s mind are debate prophets, snapped the streak. Their ballot count was 43-1. The next year Lewis & Clark took first seed and marched to the championship, albeit with less authority. In 2006, my freshman season, top-seeded Creighton lost to Sam and Sean in doubles, but this last year Point Loma picked up the trend. They went 8-0 in prelims and tip-toed to the national title past four divided panels.

In the last four years, the top seed has won NPDA three times. Moral of the story: be the top seed.