ESU Debate knocks out KU in first tourney of season

September 27, 2011

Emporia State Debate began the season with a win against Harvard round one at Georgia State University’s national tournament held Sept. 17-19. Teams from across the country flocked to Atlanta to test their wits and tongues in the first major national tournament of the year.
Ryan Wash and LaToya Williams-Green prepare for their elimination debate against KU.
Emporia State traveled light, bringing only one coach and two debaters. Latoya Williams-Green and Ryan Wash, both senior communication majors, came out swinging from the outset. Harvard was but one of the many wins accumulated over the course of the weekend. Another notable Ivy League rival, Dartmouth, found Williams-Green and Wash to be more than they could handle, losing to the pair in the sixth preliminary debate.

In the debate world, wins are evidence of superior reasoning and research. High speaker points reflect both logic and rhetorical persuasiveness. Williams-Green and Wash excel in both areas. Both debaters placed in the top 25 speakers out of over 264 participants. Williams-Green as the 21st speaker and Wash, with a particularly standout performance as the seventh speaker.

The highlight of the tournament was a win the University of Kansas, a dominant regional opponent. The win came after Williams-Green and Wash qualified to the elimination debates and were paired against KU in the double-octafinal debate. KU won the National Debate Tournament in 2009 and has been a perennial contender for the national championship ever since.

“Since Kansas, as a state, has more than 4,000 high school students participating in debate,” explained Samuel Maurer, director of debate at ESU, “college debate in the state of Kansas — and all over the country for that matter — tend to thrive off of Kansas recruits. So KU is a dominant program and has been one for a long time.

“I can’t lie, knocking their final team out of the season opener felt good.”

The season opener at Georgia State University is by far the most competitive in the nation.  Thus, based on ESU WW’s top-16 finish there, the first coaches-poll of the year has them ranked as the No. 13 team in the country. That places them ahead of every KU team, California Berkeley, and Dartmouth among many others.

Emporia State, as a whole team, ranks even higher at 11th. If by the end of the season, ESU is still ranked in the top 16 teams in the country, they will receive a first-round at-large bid to the National Debate Tournament in March.

“ESU has not received a first-round bid since 1976,” said Maurer. “It is an extraordinary honor and something that brings a lot of national recognition and respect to our debate team and our university.”

The next tournament for the Hornets is the massive University of Kentucky tournament Oct. 1-3 in Lexington Kentucky when again, Emporia’s two debaters and one coach will face off against the best teams in the country.  

  • Follow ESU Debate on Twitter for live tournament updates — @esudebate11_12




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