Topeka, Kan. – The Washburn University debate team has been recognized as the number two collegiate debate team in the entire country after their competitive success at the 2023 National Forensic Association Lincoln Douglas Championships April 13-17, hosted by Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. Washburn debate took second place in Squad Sweepstakes at the National Forensic Association Lincoln Douglas Championships when the team lost by only one win to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

      “The competition between Washburn and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln was fierce,” said Dr. Kevin O’Leary, director of debate and senior lecturer for communication studies for Washburn University. “The top debater at the tournament from Nebraska had to defeat four Washburn University debaters in successive order, from double octafinals through semifinals. The road to the college debate championships indeed travels through Washburn University.”

       The Washburn debate team has been traveling the road of competitive success the entire tournament season, starting with junior varsity debater Hunter Squires, sophomore, winning the top speaker position in the inaugural tournament of the debate season in September 2022, taking home top squad honors at the McGaffey Invitational in February and being named runner-up team at the Grand Prix in March.

        2023 Debate Team at National ChampionshipNine debaters represented Washburn University at the 2023 National Forensic Association Lincoln Douglas Championships and after six preliminary rounds, seven Washburn debaters advanced to elimination rounds. Dan Archer, junior, advanced all the way through to the semifinals (final 4). Andrew Rea, junior, finished as an octafinalist (sweet 16) and Hunter Squires made it through to quarterfinals (elite 8). Jenna Gorton, senior, Logan Michael, junior, Cade Blenden, sophomore, and Jacob Bailes, sophomore, all made it through to the double octafinalists (top 32). Carlos Cedillo-Silvia, senior, and Braxton Kindel, freshman, both narrowly missed elimination rounds, each ending up 3-3 in preliminary rounds.

       Twenty-three university and college teams from across the nation competed, from California to Florida. The top 10 schools, by results, were: 

1. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
2. Washburn University
3. Western Kentucky University
4. Missouri State University
5. University of North Texas
6. Central Michigan University
7. Lafayette University
8. Lewis & Clark College tied Truman State University
10. Florida State University


          O’Leary 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 13 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.

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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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