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Debate Team Successes

June 27, 2016

The Minnesota Debate Program had a very successful year. The program qualified two teams to the National Debate Tournament (NDT) for the second consecutive year, and fifth time since the team was re-started in 2007. The team members that represented the University against the top 80 teams in the country early this April at the 70th NDT, hosted by Binghamton University include Rohit Asirvatham (CLA junior from Rochester, MN), Cole Kostelny (CLA freshman from Appleton, WI), Saiteja Leburu (CSE freshman from Bentonville, AR), and Oskar Tauring-Traxler (CLA junior from Minneapolis, MN).

The program won the District IV (Upper Midwest) NDT Qualifying Tournament. This is the first time Minnesota has prevailed in the competition since the early 1980s. The team of Rohit Asirvatham & Cole Kostelny took home top honors.

The program’s novices also had a very strong close to the season. The team of Jack Sonin (CLA sophomore from Saint Charles, IL) and Jin Yang (CSE sophomore from Minneapolis, MN) won the Novice Championship at the National Junior Division Debate Tournament, held in Kansas City in late March.

Meanwhile, the team of Adam Johnson (CSOM freshman from Stillwater, MN) & Jillian Welborn (CLA freshman from Apple Valley, MN) finished third in the novice division at the American Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament, hosted by Boston College University in mid-March.

Minnesota debaters also received national awards for their performance in the classroom, with Rohit Asirvatham, Nathan Klish (CSE sophomore from Stevens Point, WI), Saiteja Leburu, and Oskar Tauring-Traxler being recognized as National Debate Scholars for their combined success as students and debaters by the Cross Examination Debate Association.