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MSU Debate Team Captures “Heart of America”

MSU’s top two-person debate team, Biza Repko and Jason Trive, won the prestigious “Heart of America” Debate Tournament, this weekend, at the University of Kansas.

Other than the National Championship, which takes place in early April, this tournament is the most important tournament in the country. It attracts literally every serious nationally competitive two-person team in the country. This year, the tournament had seventy-one two-person teams representing thirty-two colleges and university.

Biza and Jason won on a two judge to one judge decision against a team from the University of Alaska in the final round. They defeated a team from Emory University in the semifinal round.

The tournament featured eight preliminary rounds, on Friday and Saturday, with the top thirty-two teams advancing to single-elimination competition, like the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

MSU entered three two-person teams and all three advanced to elimination rounds.

John Sullivan and Ian Klinkhammer finished tied for sixth and a hybrid team consist of MSU’s Eric Cornellier and Emporia State University’s Warren Bleaker finished tied for fourth.

In addition, Repko was second “speaker” at the tournament and Trice was thriteenth.

Repko and Trice were the top seed after the eight preliminary rounds in the sense that their record was the best of all the teams in the preliminary rounds (seven wins and one loss).

MSU was ranked third in the nation as a squad after the fall semesters. Repko and Trice (both juniors) have been ranked as high as second among all two-person teams. The other three MSU debaters are all freshmen.

The MSU squad is directed by Prof. James Roper (Philosophy Department), and coached by outstanding former debates Dave Devereaux and Sean Lemoine, who deserve an important share of the credit for the Team’s performance this weekend.

Biza and Jason will compete at the University of Miami (FL) in three weeks. The freshmen, including two who did not compete this weekend, will compete at Junior Varsity National, near Kansas City, on the same weekend.

Biza and Jason will also compete at U of California at San Luis Obispo (the Nationals Warmup) and The National Championship. Sullivan and Cornellier will also compete at The National Championship, which is being hosted by San Diego State University this year. The Warmup occurs one week before nationals, which occurs on the first weekend in April.

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