May Zhee Lim, Senior Staff

This past weekend eight members of the UR Debate Union traveled to the University of Oklahoma to compete in this years Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship tournament. UR was one of 160 teams from around the nation to compete, with over 320 competitors in total.

“Our major highlight was that the team of Vijay Kasschau and Kevin Diamond had an awesome tournament,” UR debate coach and English professor Ken Johnson said.

Senior Vijay Kasschau and junior Kevin Diamond earned six wins and two losses in the preliminary rounds of debate. They then went on to advance the round of 64 teams and then the round of 32 teams. In this round, the duo beat a strongly ranked team from the University of Texas San Antonio to move to the next round. Kasschau and Diamond finished the tournament and tied for 9th, after loosing to Whitman College and placing in the national championship Sweet-16. The duo also competed in other tournaments this year and were a very successful pair.

“These tournaments were very special because they were the last tournaments of my debate career since I’ll be graduating and am ineligible for further competition since I’ve debated for 4 years,” said Diamond. “But they are also special because they are the culminating prize of what we’ve been doing all year — last time to see friends and competitors and to say good bye for the last four years.”

“This is the best performance the University has ever had at the CEDA National Championships,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the UR debate team has had a great year. UR is home to one of the largest debate programs in the nation, and unlike many other leading debate programs, no experience is necessary to join UR’s team.

“Most of the people who were debating in the Sweet 16 with Vijay and Kevin came from debate programs that only recruit elite high school debaters with lots of experience,” Johnson said. “Diamond was one of the few debaters at the end of the national championship who started debate as a novice in college.”

Johnson hopes to expand the growing debate community next year. He wants more of the student body to be involved and hopes to have over 100 members next year.

Although the official rankings are not out, Johnson expects UR’s team to rank very high nationally, possible approaching the top 15. He has high hopes for this growing team and even has thoughts of winning the national championship.

“Next year just might be our year,” Johnson said.

Cozen is a member of the class of 2015.



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