ISU Headlines

Idaho State University debate places second at qualifier; prepares for national championship competitions

Posted March 17, 2014

Idaho State University seniors Matea Ivanovic and Kendra Doty secured a slot at the 68th National Debate Tournament (NDT) at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, later this month by earning a second-place finish at NDT District II competition hosted at ISU this March.

At this qualifying tournament the ISU duo representing the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society bested five of six opponents. The tournament hosted 14 teams from five western states.

In addition to their second-place finish, Ivanovic earned another first-place speaker award, while Doty was recognized as the fifth-best speaker at the tournament. Matea Ivanovic and Kendra Doty

Ivanovic and Doty as a team have had one of the strongest seasonal showings for ISU in years. They won both the Gonzaga University and Weber State University tournaments. They were also in elimination debates at other major tournaments such as Wake Forest University and the University of North Texas.

The seniors have proven to be a force to be recognized because they have one of the highest seasonal win percentages in the nation. At 71.7 percent, Ivanovic and Doty have the 12th highest win percentage in the nation according to

Their elimination debate percentage of 81.8 percent is the sixth highest in the nation, also according to This places them above teams from Georgetown, George Mason, the University of Michigan, the United States Military Academy, James Madison, Wake Forest, Emory and many others.

Overall, the NDT-CEDA debate circuit boasts 159 participating institutions and 1,813 students competing in 71 tournaments so far in the 2013-2014 debate season.

“These two women work so hard. They have had so much success this season and I could not be more proud,” said ISU assistant debate coach Roger Copenhaver. “Their success at districts this weekend only highlights a small piece of excellence that these two women continue to exemplify.”

The team’s success doesn’t come by accident, said Sarah T. Partlow Lefevre, director of the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society.

“This team’s competitive success is a direct result of the massive effort they have invested into debate activities,” Partlow Lefevre. “I am proud to see them develop such sharp strategic vision and stellar research skills.”

While other ISU students are looking forward to spring break, Ivanovic and Doty are getting ready to attend nationals. Over the course of 12 days, the team will debate at both the largest intercollegiate policy debate championship (CEDA) and at the qualification-only intercollegiate national championship, the National Debate Tournament (NDT). Both tournaments are hosted by the University of Indiana, Bloomington.

During spring break most students will get the chance to relax and take a break from school. This is not the case for Ivanovic and Doty, who will be competing during 12- to 14-hour days as they seek the ultimate prize, a national championship, Partlow Lefevre said.

According to Partlow Lefevre, ISU previously took third place at the CEDA Championship in 2006. ISU has also claimed speaker awards as high as second at both the 2007 NDT and 2007 CEDA in the past.

“Talent alone can’t ensure a big win at nationals,” Partlow Lefevre said. “It also requires a certain amount of luck. But, this team certainly has the necessary talent.”