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2021 Debate State Tournament Advance Release

Posted: Monday, January 11, 2021 - 2:28 PM

January 11, 2021

CONTACT: Amy Doherty or Ellen Rajkowski / MSHSL


The Debate State Tournament, the Minnesota State High School League’s longest-running event, marks its 120th anniversary in a unique way. For the first time in history, the entire tournament will be conducted in a virtual format because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition rounds will take place at, while the award ceremonies will be conducted via Zoom.

Fast Facts

The schedule: The tournament opens with preliminary rounds in all four divisions – Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Congressional, and Public Forum – on Friday, Jan. 15. On Saturday, Jan. 16, is one additional preliminary round in Policy followed by the quarterfinals at noon. The semifinals and finals will take place at 2:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. An awards ceremony will begin conducted at approximately 7 p.m. Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum start with two additional preliminary rounds on Saturday morning with quarterfinals beginning at noon. Semifinals and finals will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Awards will be presented at approximately 6 p.m. Congressional Debate has three sessions on both Friday and Saturday. That category concludes with a second Super Session at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Awards for Congressional will be presented at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Results: Posted at

Social media: Follow the tournament on the League’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @MSHSL and @MSHSLJohn.

Tournament Preview

Policy: Clara Conry and Gabe Chang-Deutsch of Minneapolis South return to defend their title. The duo faces tough competition from Isabel Kleckner of Minneapolis South, who claimed runner-up honors with Simon Jarcho in 2020. Kleckner will partner with Annabelle Niblett this year. Niblett also has past Policy experience; she was defeated in the quarterfinals last year. Two additional competitors that lost in the quarterfinals last year return with different partners. Kate Nozal of Rosemount will pair with Nico Jackson, and Nihar Atri of Edina will team with Claire Anderson. Anderson lost in the semifinals of last year’s Policy competition.

Lincoln-Douglas: Four competitors return from the 2020 finals field. Arush Iyer of Eagan, Isabel Brandt of Visitation, Mendota Heights, and Ezana Tedla of Hopkins all lost in the quarterfinal round. Ananth Veluvali of Edina lost in the semifinals.

Public Forum: Arjun Maheshwari and Ryan Zhu of Edina are the highest returning qualifiers. They are looking to improve on last year’s runner-up showing.

Two additional complete team returns from last year’s finals field. Chaska’s Kian O’Connor and Ekaanth Veerakumar lost in the quarterfinals, while Lakeville North’s Roman Sciamanda and Andrew Hentges were defeated in the semifinals.

The final returning competitor is Isaiah Dalzell of Eastview, Apple Valley. He lost in the 2020 quarterfinals and will form a duo with Izhan Qureishy this year.

Congressional: Trinity Hanif of St. Michael-Albertville is the only returning medalist; she placed seventh in 2020. The top four qualifiers in Congressional are the section champions. They are: Eagan’s Prapthi Sirrkay (Section 3); Alexandra Smith of East Ridge, Woodbury (Section 4); Moorhead’s Scout Holding Eagle-Bushaw (Section 5) and Robbinsdale Cooper’s Connor Brynteson (Section 6).

For past tournament results and historical information, please visit

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