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Debate Students Capture National Championship

March 22, 2021

2021 Debaate team

The Idaho State University Debate Team of Kaden Marchetti and Colter Barker have captured the National Championship in Public Forum debate at the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament.  This is the second consecutive championship win for the Bengals, who won the same title at the last national tournament in 2019. 
 
Junior Joseph Tyler made the quarterfinal round in varsity International Parliamentary debate, and sophomore Jazlynn Carranza advanced to the junior varsity octofinals, also in in International Parliamentary debate. Additionally, Tyler made the quarterfinal round in varsity extemporaneous speaking during the four day tournament. 
 
Marchetti, a senior graduating in May with a bachelor's degree. in computer science was also granted the rare Pi Kappa Delta All-American Award for excellence in debate as well as academic achievement, personal development, and civic engagement.  The culmination of a seven-year debate experience, the final round was Marchetti’s last competitive round. 
 
“This tournament was a Covid casualty last year, cancelled just two weeks before heading to San Diego to try for national titles,” said Andy Christensen, Assistant Director of the squad. “I was so grateful all of our participants did well this weekend, and it’s particularly exciting that the Public Forum pair made it to the final round to recapture their title.”  
 
More than 70 universities from North America participated, featuring hundreds of speakers entered in six debate formats and 14 oratory contests.  Idaho State took the 4th place “sweepstakes” award for small squad entries. 
 
The Bengals also received numerous honors tournament-wide for superior speaking quality. Marchetti and Barker were the first and second speakers in the public forum field, and Tyler was seventh speaker in the varsity parliamentary division.
 
“The team really pulled closer together in the face of Covid. We found new ways to bring debate to ISU and our students while maintaining social distancing and using online debating as an innovative way to maximize tournament participation and performance” said Sarah Partlow-Lefeve, head coach of the team. “It takes a real team effort, a lot of sacrifice, training, and endurance to win these kinds of competitions,” she added. 
 
The Bengals will participate in another national competition beginning March 27 and spanning three weekends. The International Parliamentary Debate Association annual tournament will be hosted virtually from Louisiana State at Shreveport. 
 
The ISU Rupp Debate squad is supported by James M. and Sharon E. Rupp, the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of Communication, Media & Persuasion, and the ASISU.