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A-State Debate Club Member Wins Top Speaker Award


JONESBORO, Ark. — The Arkansas State University Debate Team finished off the season in style with John Thompson capturing the Phi Kappa Delta National Championship Top Speaker Award. This is the highest award given to an individual debater.

The Phi Kappa Delta National Tournament, held recently in Indianapolis, Ind., was co-hosted by the University of Indiana and Butler University. Eighty universities were in attendance at this prestigious national tournament including the University of Kentucky, Purdue, and Texas Christian University.

“This is the absolute perfect way to end our debate season,” proclaimed Dr. Chris Harper, assistant professor of communication and director of the Debate Team. “I couldn’t be more proud of JJ (John). He had a fantastic tournament and did a wonderful job of representing the Red Wolves.

“To capture the coveted Top Speaker Award at a tournament of this magnitude says a lot about the type of talent we have here at A-State. It also says a lot about the kind of support we get from the administration here. We couldn’t have the kind of success we have been afforded without its support, and we are very grateful.”

Other notable finishes included the team of Thompson of Cave Springs and Baker Weilert of Fort Scott, Kan., advancing to the great eight (quarterfinals) in the tournament before losing a close 2-1 decision to Purdue University. Thompson and Weilert were the undefeated top seed in the tournament at 12-0 before being eliminated in the quarterfinals.

“I know it was really tough on JJ and Baker to lose that quarterfinal round to Purdue, but I am extremely proud of their effort and attitude. They both are juniors here at A-State and will definitely be one of the top teams in the nation again next year.”