MSU Debate takes 1st place in Indiana tournament; runner-up in prestigious Weber Round Robin

The Michigan State University Debate Team recently took top honors at a tournament hosted by Indiana University and was runner-up in the Weber Round Robin held in Utah.

The Indiana University tournament was held Jan. 24-27 in Bloomington, Indiana and the Weber Round Robin, which only invites the top 16, two-person teams in the country, was held Jan. 24-26 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The two-person team of international relations junior Jack Caporal and international relations junior Quinn Zemel took the top spot at Indiana, going 7-0 in the preliminary rounds and defeating the University of Iowa in the final round.

Caporal and Zemel were also awarded the top two spots as individual speakers.

Honors College members Kaavya Ramesh, an international relations, Chinese, comparative cultures and politics senior, and Tyler Thur, an international relations sophomore, also went undefeated in the Indiana preliminary rounds and finished as semifinalists.

The tournament featured 19 teams representing eight universities. In nine head-to-head debates with the University of Michigan, MSU went 7-2.

Over at the Weber Round Robin, international relations junior Aniela Butler and math sophomore Margaret Strong went 6-1 in the preliminary rounds and finished in second place after losing a tough match to a team from the University of North Texas.

Strong received the top individual speaker award in her division, while Butler finished 4th in her individual speaker category. As a team, they recorded wins against: Arizona State University, Gonzaga University, Kansas City Kansas Community College, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Weber State University, and Wichita State University.  

“Our students skillfully outperformed teams from across the country, putting MSU in a strong position heading into the National Debate Tournament later this semester,” said Debate Head Coach Will Repko. “We’re proud to show MSU can beat the best on any playing field.”

The MSU Debate Team will now head to the University of Texas for a competition on Feb. 7. The National Debate Tournament will take place at the end of March.

The MSU Debate Team is a part of the Honors College. For more information, go to