LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas debate duo of Will Katz, Topeka, and Quaram Robinson of Round Rock, Texas, captured first place at the prestigious Henry Clay Debate Tournament, hosted by the University of Kentucky from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. They defeated Northwestern University in the championship debate on a 3-0 decision. The two have opened the season by winning the first two major tournaments of the year.
Schools competing at the tournament included Dartmouth College, Emory University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, James Madison University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University, and universities in California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and more.
Katz and Robinson won all 13 of their debates over three-plus days of competition in Lexington. They opened the tournament with wins over Northwestern University, the University of California at Berkeley, Wake Forest University and Indiana University. The second day, they reeled off four more wins over a team from the University of Kentucky, the Harvard University team that ended last year as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, another team from the University of Kentucky, and the University of Central Oklahoma. They qualified for the elimination rounds as the top seed from a field of 102 teams.
The single elimination rounds began on Monday with a unanimous victory over Wichita State University in the round of 32. They followed that up with a win over Michigan State University in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, they met the team from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, who had given them their only loss of the year in the preliminary rounds of the Georgia State University tournament two weeks ago. KU defeated UNLV to move to the final four. In the semifinals they defeated the host team from the University of Kentucky to advance to the finals. The final round ended at 2 a.m. Tuesday with the victory over Northwestern. Robinson was the top individual speaker at the tournament, Katz was the 14th place individual speaker.
Katz and Robinson have opened the season with 25 wins and 1 loss. They have won 22 consecutive debates against some of the best teams in the country.
“This is the best start to a season any KU team has had in my 27 years directing the program,” said Scott Harris, the David B. Pittaway Director of Debate.
The next tournament for Katz and Robinson will be at Gonzaga University Oct. 28-31.
“I am grateful for the hard work of the coaches and my teammates who helped contribute to our success,” Katz said. “I also want to thank my partner, Quaram, who is the best debater in the country.”
Photo: University of Kansas debate duo Quaram Robinson of Round Rock, Texas, and Will Katz, Topeka.