3 KU students win individual speaker awards at national debate tournament

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The University of Kansas for the next year will boast the top two collegiate debate speakers in the nation — and three of the top 15.

As the six-time national championship-winning program enters the elimination rounds of the 75th National Debate Tournament on Monday, three team members took home individual speaker awards Sunday night.

Azja Butler, KU Debate’s co-president, was awarded the tournament’s top speaker — an accolade only two other Jayhawks have won in the history of the tournament. Butler couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, as the tournament is still ongoing.

Butler’s co-president, Nathan Martin, came in second place in the tournament’s speaker awards.

Finally, KU freshman Graham Revare was awarded 12th place in the individual speaker competition as the team prepared to enter the elimination rounds.

Butler and her debate partner Ross Fitzpatrick advanced out of the preliminary rounds with an undefeated 8-0 record, making them the top seed in the tournament.

According to the KU Debate Facebook page, students Michael Scott and Mickey McMahon will enter the tournament’s elimination rounds as the fourth overall seed with a 7-1 record. Martin and Revare are also partners who will enter the elimination rounds as the sixth seed with a 6-2 record.

Collectively, KU Debate finished the preliminary rounds with a 21-3 record and will seek to bring home a seventh national championship when the tournament concludes on Tuesday.

Article updated to add courtesy photos at 2:32 p.m. Monday, March 29

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