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MSU Debate team clinches 1st place win at Miami tournament

Stephanie Cepak

MIAMI, Florida & LOS ANGELES, California — The Michigan State University Debate team came out No. 1 in a crowd of nearly 50 teams at the University of Miami debate tournament this week.

International relations senior Jack Caporal and international relations senior Quinn Zemel bested teams from Emory University, the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, Vanderbilt University, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University and Trinity University to win first place.

“Heading into the final half of the debate season, Michigan State has two teams ranked nationally, which includes Caporal and Zemel,” Debate Head Coach Will Repko said. “We’re excited to see the momentum, built on hours of preparation, continues to build for our team.”

Also competing at Miami were James Madison undecided freshman Briana Lewis, accounting freshman Wayne Campbell, education junior Shannon Nierman, social relations and policy sophomore Shannon Fagan, political science/pre-law freshman Sean Lavelle and computer science first-year Connor Munsinger. Fagan and Munsinger are also members of the Honors College.

Lavelle and Munsinger also made it to the octafinals round (top 16 teams) in Miami, but were matched against Caporal and Zemel. If two teams from the same school are matched up in debate it’s the higher-seeded team that automatically advances to the next round.

In all, 47 teams competed in the Miami tournament.

Miami wasn’t the only tournament members of MSU’s Debate team competed in this week.

Tyler Thur, an Honors College member and international relations junior, and teammate Darcell Brown, a political science sophomore, competed in the University of Southern California’s tournament. They placed in the top 32 out of 121 teams.

The MSU Debate team will compete on Wednesday in a tournament at California State University in Fullerton.

Debate is a part of the Honors College. For more information, go to

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