Topeka, Kan. - This past weekend, March 25 and 26, the Washburn University debate team competed at the National Forensic Association Lincoln Douglas Grand Prix hosted by University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. The team was recognized as the runner-up in the Overall Squad Sweepstakes at the Grand Prix, being bested only by the team from Western Kentucky University. Washburn students Hunter Squires, sophomore, is the junior varsity national champion and Carlos Cedillo-Silva, senior, finished in the top six nationally in varsity competition.

      After five preliminary rounds on Saturday, March 25, Washburn cleared seven of its nine competitors to double-elimination out-rounds. Teammates Dan Archer (junior) and Jacob Bailes (sophomore) narrowly missed the out-rounds, each losing their ‘break’ round in the last preliminary round in varsity competition. In open competition, Jenna Gorton (senior), Logan Michael (junior) and Cade Blenden (sophomore) all made it to elimination round three, while Andrew Rea (junior) made it to elimination round four. Also, in open competition, Cedillo-Silva made it to elimination round five, which meant he finished in the top six nationally in the open or varsity ranks. In junior varsity competition, Braxton Kindel (freshman) made it to elimination round four, while Squires made it to elimination round six which was the final round in the junior varsity division.

      Washburn University Debate alumni Aly Fiebrantz, Matt Parnell and Emily Unruh helped coach and judge at this year’s Grand Prix.

      The Grand Prix is one of two national tournaments for collegiate Lincoln Douglas policy debate. Schools joining Washburn at the Grand Prix included California State University, Fullerton College, University of Central Michigan, Florida State University, Illinois College, Illinois State University, John Carroll University, Lafayette College, Lewis & Clark College, Missouri State University, Missouri Valley College, Pennsylvania State University, Texas State University, Truman State University, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of North Texas, University of Northern Iowa and Western Kentucky University.

      Dr. Kevin O’Leary, director of debate and senior lecturer for communication studies for Washburn University, and Steve Doubledee, assistant director of debate and senior lecturer for communication studies for Washburn University, are the debate coaches for Washburn University. The Washburn University debate program focuses on Lincoln-Douglas, or LD, debate format. LD is a debate format that follows the basic time schedule 6 - 3 - 7 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 3. Each debater gets thirteen minutes of total speaking time, and three minutes of question time. The rounds take approximately 45 minutes in total. Each debater receives four to five minutes of preparation time to use between speeches however they like. Washburn University Debate will wrap up its season in April at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., host of the 2023 National Forensic Association Championships.

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For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Office: 785-670-2153
Cell: 785-230-1648
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