KU wins 2nd place in National Debate Tournament; team qualified for KU’s 20th Final Four appearance

photo by: University of Kansas

Graham Revare and William Soper took second place in the country at the 78th National Debate Tournament.

A University of Kansas team took home a runner-up finish in the recently concluded National Debate Tournament, marking the 20th time a KU team has qualified for the Final Four in the country’s most prestigious debate competition.

The KU team of Graham Revare, a junior from Shawnee, and William Soper, a senior from Bucyrus, took second place in the country at the 78th National Debate Tournament, held April 4-9 at Emory University in Atlanta.

They lost the championship match to a team from the University of Michigan in a debate that focused on nuclear arms policy. The KU squad defeated the University of Wyoming, the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, Harvard University, Wichita State, Binghamton and the top-ranked team in the country from Emory University.

KU technically also beat one other opponent — the University of Kansas. KU qualified three teams for the tournament. Two of those teams met in the Elite Eight round, with the Revare/Soper squad advancing by a decision of the coaches, who had the option of moving its higher ranked team forward in the tournament. Revare/Soper entered the tournament ranked No. 9 in the country.

KU was seeking its seventh national championship in the debate tournament. KU has advanced to the Final Four in six of the last eight seasons.

The KU team of sophomores John Marshall, from Lawrence, and Jiyoon Park, from Topeka, took fifth place at the tournament, as a No. 23 seed in the tournament. KU’s third team of Jacob Wilkus, junior from Lawrence, with Owen Williams, freshman from Lee’s Summit, finished 4-4 in the preliminary rounds of the tournament.

The four-day tournament features the top 80 teams in the country. Each team competes in eight preliminary debates. The top 29 teams at the tournament then qualify for a single elimination bracket tournament, which crowns the national champion.

In addition to the team awards, Revare won the eighth-place individual speaker award at the tournament, and Soper was the ninth-place speaker.

“I am so incredibly proud of the teams and the coaches for all of the hard work that allowed the program to have so much success,” Scott Harris, director of the KU debate program, said in a KU press release. “We are so grateful to the Department of Communication Studies, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Student Senate and the alumni whose financial support allows us to compete at the highest level of college policy debate.”


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