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Jess Ryan of Lander fronted a spectacular performance by the University of Wyoming at the eighth annual National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence last weekend, outperforming 108 other competitors to win top speaker honors.
Ryan, a senior majoring in communication with a minor in art, won UW's sixth national title in parliamentary-style debate but first since 2003. He also led two UW teams into the Sweet 16 of the tourney, which was hosted by the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.
All competitors were evaluated by a series of 12 judges who, in addition to determining wins and losses, ranked each debater on his or her speaking abilities.
Three other UW debaters finished among the top 20 individual speakers: Junior Lindsey DeVries (Glenrock) was 12th, senior Tony Roberts (Sheridan) 16th and senior Jeffrey Fife (Riverton) 17th. As two-person teams, DeVries and Fife placed 12th and Ryan and Roberts 13th.
Ryan, who has now won six top-speaker awards this season, will represent the United States in its annual three-person debate against Irish champions Thursday, March 27, at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.
The UW squad is coached by director Matt Stannard and graduate assistants Blake Carothers and Matt Plush.