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MSU Debate Starts Season with Top 16 Finish

Michigan State University Debate set a high bar of success at the season-opening tournament hosted by Northwestern University last weekend.

Joanna Gusis, a political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore in the Honors College, and Tony Miklovis, a social relations and policy and international relations junior in the Honors College, reached the octafinals round at the Owen L. Coon Memorial Debate Tournament.

Joanna Gusis and Tony Miklovis holding their award

After wins over Northwestern University, Emory University, George Mason University, and the University of Texas in preliminary debates, Gusis and Miklovis defeated a team from the University of Michigan in their first elimination debate to reach the top 16.

“This was an excellent opening tournament for the team,” said Will Repko, MSU Debate Head Coach. “We felt like we prepared well and Tony and Joanna were debating great.”

MSU debaters have been preparing for this tournament for months and even returned to campus early to practice for the season.

The Owen L. Coon Memorial Debate Tournament is the first tournament for MSU Debate this season and over 150 team participated.

MSU had two additional teams who won enough preliminary debates to qualify for elimination debates that narrowly missed the cutoff for participation.

Ephraim Bennett, computer science junior, and Blaine Montford, political science freshman, bested teams from Harvard University, the University of Michigan, University of Southern California, and Kansas University.

David Koster, political science and economics senior, and Stephen Lewis, journalism freshman, defeated teams from Harvard University, Trinity University, Kansas University, and Binghamton University.

“We had three teams with enough wins to debate in elimination debates and not a lot of schools can say that. There’s a depth to our squad right now that should make for an exciting year,” said Repko.

MSU was also represented at the tournament by Mitchell Scott, economics senior, Zaria Jarman, James Madison College freshman, Aadit Agrahara, political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore, Miaomiao Zi, interdisciplinary humanities and English concentration in creative writing sophomore, Glen Scully, computer science sophomore, Hina Shehzad, James Madison College Freshman, Tyler Buck, political theory and constitutional democracy and African American and African studies sophomore, and Alex Bitzan, a freshman who hasn’t declared a major.

MSU Debate will next debate at the JW Patterson Debates hosted by the University of Kentucky.

The MSU Debate Team is part of the Honors College.

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