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Members of the University of Wyoming debate teams concluded their fall season with top-speaker awards and victories against leading debate squads.
Cowboy debaters competed in back-to-back tournaments at Topeka, Kan., and at another debate in Winston-Salem, N.C. It was another tremendous weekend with both halves of the squads bringing home trophies and speaking awards, as well as a host of victories against some tough competition.
In parliamentary debate, Nick Larmer (Gillette) and Isaac McBride (Boise, Idaho) finished in fifth place at Topeka in tournaments that featured many of the nation's top 25 teams. Larmer and McBride were recognized in the top 20 individual speakers at both tournaments.
Kathryn Starkey (Jackson Hole) and Jeremiah Etcheverry (Rock Springs) had a breakout performance, finishing in seventh place in the first tournament and reaching the final four in the second. Starkey was named the fifth-best speaker; Etcheverry was recognized as the eighth.
In policy debate, senior Michael Bausch (Boise, Idaho) and sophomore Kacey Ballard (Green River) reached the sweet 16 while competing against more than 140 teams at the Franklin R. Shirley Classic at Wake Forest University.
The Shirley Classic is the largest and most prestigious regular-season tournament of the year. It was the acid test for whether Bausch and Ballard, who have had unprecedented success so far, could win big on the national stage.
"While UW has been in the elimination rounds of this tournament before, no previous team had advanced this far or won as many debates," says Travis Cram, director of forensics in the UW Department of Communication and Journalism.
The UW duo defeated last year's top-ranked team, Emory University. Bausch was awarded 18th-best speaker among 288 individuals.