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ISU Hosts CEDA National, USA’s Largest Collegiate Tournament

ISU team pleased with finish, University of Oklahoma takes home first

The largest collegiate championship debate tournament in the country came to Idaho State University’s Pocatello campus this spring, drawing 146 two-person teams from 83 colleges and universities from throughout the United States.

ISU’s James M. and Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society hosted the 2009 Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Nationals from March 19-24, including teams from Harvard, Emory, George Washington, Gonzaga and Pepperdine universities.

A team from the University of Oklahoma won the tournament, earning a decision over Towson University, located near Baltimore, Md.

Host Idaho State University performed well in the tournament, with its team of Paul Montreuil and Danielle Jennings making it to the octo-finals, the “Sweet 16” of the tournament, before being defeated by Wichita State. Montreuil also was honored as one of the best individual debaters in the tournament, earning the ninth-place speaker spot.

“We had high goals coming into the tournament, wanting to win it,” said Sarah Partlow-Lefevre, director of the ISU Rupp Debate Society. “But I’m extremely proud of the showing of our team making it to the ‘Sweet 16’ and Paul earning a top-10 individual finish.”

During Partlow-Lefevre’s seven years as director, the ISU Rupp Debate Society has risen to national prominence, winning more than 200 awards and honors in intercollegiate debate, 182 of which were top-five finishes, including 45 first-place awards.

“Sarah is widely acknowledged as one of the top five coaches in the country,” said James DiSanza, chair of the ISU Communications and Rhetorical Studies department. “We are very pleased with the job she has done here.”

DiSanza said that CEDA likes “geographic diversity” in its selection sites. Idaho was selected not only for being a new location, but to offer “a nice recognition of the strength of our debate program and its coach.”

Prior to the CEDA Nationals, the Idaho State University debate team won the championship of the Rocky Mountain Regional Tournament. This region includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Nevada. In individual competitions, Montreuil took top honors as first speaker with a 6-0 undefeated performance, while Jennings was awarded fourth speaker.

The ISU James M. and Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society has been the top team in its region six of the last seven years and has had success at the CEDA Nationals. In 2006 the ISU Rupp Debate Society finished third at the CEDA Nationals behind Dartmouth and Harvard Universities.

Organizers had their hands full preparing for the event, which required finding nearly 100 classrooms to host debates. Many of the debates were hosted in ISU’s newest venue, the Rendezvous Complex. The finals were held in the Pocatello Red Lion Hotel. Award ceremonies were held in the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center.

“We are very grateful for and honored by the help we’ve received from the ISU administration, and the Pocatello Chubbuck Convention and Visitors Bureau,” DiSanza said. “Mr. James Rupp, an ISU alumnus and long-time supporter of the debate program, was also instrumental in bringing this event to campus.”

Andy Taylor
ISU Magazine