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The University of Wyoming debate team has had one of its most dominating beginnings in several years, as both the policy and parliamentary debate teams have found tremendous success to start the season.
Debates began Sept. 11 at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., attended by nearly 50 teams from all over the Mountain West and Pacific region and as far as Texas and Illinois.
UW's top policy debate team, senior Michael Bausch of Boise, Idaho and sophomore Kacey Ballard of Green River, finished in the tournament's Sweet 16. Their string of victories included wins over the USC Trojans and the Texas Longhorns (whom they beat twice).
UW's second team, sophomores Jared Fanning of Cheyenne and Amy Pauli of Green River, defeated Weber State University and San Francisco State University. Bausch was awarded the individual award for third-best speaker overall.
A week later, parliamentary debaters Kathryn Starkey, a senior from Jackson Hole, and Jeremiah Etcheverry, a senior from Rock Springs, competed in two tournaments hosted by William Jewell College in Kansas City, Mo. Starkey and Etcheverry finished in third and fifth place, respectively. Their wins included victories over Washburn Rural, Texas Tech, Central Missouri and California State-Long Beach. The two seniors posted an impressive final mark of 13-3.
Last week, policy debaters returned to action with tournaments in Ogden, Utah and Pocatello, Idaho for two competitions dubbed ‘The Wasatch Swing.'
Bausch and Ballard continued their dominating performance with a 16-1 run through both tournaments, which included two first-place finishes, two top speaker awards for Bausch and a fourth-best speaker award for Ballard. Fanning and Pauli finished in third place in Ogden and fifth place in Pocatello. Pauli was awarded the seventh-best speaker award. Freshman Darshan Patel of Newcastle and junior Brian Bryngelson of Worland also competed.
In the junior varsity division, freshman Jon Swartz of Cheyenne and sophomore Kathleen Bouzis of Omaha, Neb., finished in second place, with Bouzis being named the fourth-best speaker. Freshmen Tiffany Adamski of Green River and Ben Berry of Cheyenne finished third, with a speaker award for Adamski.
"With an overall record of 21-4, including two first place victories and a slew of speaking awards, Bausch and Ballard are poised to have one of the best seasons in recent memory," says Travis Cram, director of forensics in the UW Department of Communication and Journalism. "As a squad, the Cowboys have won more than 70 percent of their debates, a mark usually reserved for powerhouse schools like Harvard, Emory and Northwestern University."