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Arkansas State Debate Team continues winning streak


JONESBORO, Ark. — The Arkansas State Debate Team continues to dominate its competition by bringing home top honors in both the parliamentary (team) and public (individual) debate divisions at the University of Tennessee Volunteer Classic, Friday through Monday, Jan. 19-20, in Knoxville, Tenn.

The victory is the fourth consecutive tournament win for the ASU debaters dating back to the fall semester.

In team debate, Ken Corbit, a senior communications studies major from Leachville, and Micah Christensen, a junior communication studies major from Cheyenne, Wyo., completed an undefeated tournament with a 2-1 decision over Morehouse College in the final round of parliamentary debate. 

“So far this year, Ken and Micah have really been an amazing team,” said Dr. Chris Harper, debate team coach and assistant professor of Communication Studies. “They went to the finals at Western Kentucky, won at LSU, and have now followed up with a victory at Tennessee. I can’t say enough about their work ethic, character, and talent.”

The team of JJ Thompson, a sophomore communication studies major from Cave Springs, and Clint Simpson, a senior political science major from Searcy, lost only one round in the tournament and were slated to debate against Corbit and Christenson in the semifinal round.

ASU also dominated the individual debate by closing out the finals of the public debate tournament. The final round of the tournament featured Thompson representing ASU against Corbit, also representing ASU. 

“Closing out finals at a tournament is an amazing accomplishment and really demonstrates the quality and depth of our debate program,” continued Harper. “As a coach you always feel much more at ease being able to forgo a final round because your debaters are pitted against one another.”

Along with the overall performances, Arkansas State monopolized the individual speaking awards and were led by Thompson who was the top speaker in both parliamentary team and public individual debate. Simpson was the second-rated overall speaker in parliamentary debate and Corbit brought home the third-place speaking award in public debate.

Other notable finishes at the tournament include Benton Bajorek, a sophomore communication studies major from Jacksonville, posting an undefeated 6-0 record in preliminary rounds of public debate before being eliminated in the quarterfinals.  First-time debater Lakin Cathey, a freshman from Heber Springs, advanced to the octofinal round of individual debate before losing a close 2-1 decision.

The ASU Debate program is currently preparing for upcoming tournaments at LSU-Baton Rouge and the International Forensics Association Tournament hosted in Antwerp, Belgium.



Dr. Chris Harper

Dr. Chris Harper, Debate Team Coach

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