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SMU takes second at the Blue Devil Debate Tournament in Kansas City

In their first-ever college debate competition, the SMU student team of Viral Kotecha and George Taylor took second place overall in the novice division of the Blue Devil College Debate Tournament in Kansas City, October 11-13. The pair defeated the University of Central Oklahoma, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Augustana College and the University of Texas at San Antonio and won five out of six ballots from judges in their quarterfinal and semifinal debates. Taylor also won a speaker award.

SMU’s junior varsity team of Joseph Reyes and Morgan Lipinski finished the junior varsity division with three wins and three losses, defeating Lindenwood University, the University of North Texas and Augustana College. 

SMU’s two teams were among more than 50 university teams competing at the tournament from states across the Midwest, including Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois and Texas.

The teams were coached by Chris Salinas, assistant director of debate, and Lauren Sabino while in Kansas City.  The debate program is directed by Ben Voth, associate professor in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Communication Studies, and also coached by Tim Glass. Sponsors of the SMU debate team are the Meadows Division of Communication Studies and SMU’s Division of Student Affairs and Office of the Provost. 

For more information contact Dr. Ben Voth at

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