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The University of Wyoming debate team's parliamentary and policy-style debate squads concluded their regular season and prepped for the national championships with top speaker awards and highly competitive team performances.
Travis Cram (Cheyenne) was named top individual speaker at the District 9 National Debate Tournament (NDT) district qualifier hosted by Eastern New Mexico University in Portales last weekend. His partner, Will Jenson (Cheyenne), was named third individual speaker. The pair finished with five wins and one loss to advance to the NDT, scheduled at California State University-Fullerton in March.
Tony Johnson and Mike Bausch, both of Boise, Idaho, and Jamie Piechura (Newcastle) and Kelly Nickel (Parker, Colo.) finished with 4-2 records and in the top third of the qualifiers as well. Johnson and Bausch will join Cram and Jensen as NDT qualifiers.
Jesse Ryan (Lander) won his fifth top speaker award of the year when he was named top speaker among 60 competitors at the Mark O. Hatfield debates at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., last weekend. His partner, Tony Roberts (Sheridan), was named the tournament's sixth-best speaker, and the pair advanced to elimination rounds at the tournament.
Lindsey DeVries (Glenrock) and Jeffrey Fife (Riverton) advanced to the semifinals and placed third overall at the Hatfield event. Kathryn Starkey (Jackson) and Nick Larmer (Gillette) also advanced to elimination rounds.
UW debaters received eight top speaker awards this season. Ryan received top overall speaker awards at the Mile High Swing, the Hatfield Debates, the Claremont Colleges Invitational, the Puget Sound Round Robin and the Puget Sound Invitational.
Other top overall speaker awards were given to Cram at the NDT District 9 Qualifier, Bausch at the Denver University Mile High Classic, and Johnson at the Laramie Scrimmage.