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2021 Debate State Tournament Recap

Posted: Sunday, January 17, 2021 - 11:52 AM

Chang-Deutsch, Conry of Minneapolis South claim second consecutive Policy title

Enacting criminal justice reform and banning autonomous lethal weapons were two of the topics argued at the 2021 Debate State Tournament – the 120th edition and longest-running event of the Minnesota State High School League. This year’s tournament was held in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arush Iyer of Eagan claimed his first title in the Lincoln-Douglas competition. He defeated Cobin Szymanski of St. Michael-Albertville 5-2 in the final round. The win was an improvement for Iyer who fell in the quarterfinals in 2020.

Iyer’s argument for states banning lethal autonomous weapons followed nine rounds of debate conducted over two days.

The results of eight rounds of debate proved that Gabe Chang-Deutsch and Clara Conry of Minneapolis South were the best policy debaters for a second consecutive year. Chang-Deutsch and Conry argued against the United States government enacting criminal justice reform as they defeated Eagan’s Eric Li and Archan Sen 4-1.

Joshua Enebo and Skylar Wang of The Blake School, Minneapolis, took top honors in Public Forum. Their victory came after nine rounds of debate and they won 6-1 with a negative argument over Edina’s Ryan Zhu and Arjan Maheshwari. Enebo and Wang argued against the United States ending its surveillance of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

This was the second consecutive runner-up showing for Zhu and Maheshwari. This was also the second consecutive Public Forum win for The Blake School. Morgan Swigert & Jack Johnson claimed top honors in 2020.

Alexandra Smith of East Ridge, Woodbury, won her first title in Congressional debate. Congressional is a mock legislative assembly competition where students draft bills (proposed laws) and resolutions (position statements). Their peers then debate the legislation and vote whether or not to pass it into law. There were six rounds of Congressional debate, concluding with two Super Sessions on Saturday afternoon.

The Policy debate portion of the tournament has been conducted since 1902 and the Lincoln-Douglas portion of the tournament, which was an invitational event from 1986 through 1989, was added to the tournament in 1990. Public Forum was introduced in 2013 and Congressional was added in 2018.

Results are available at

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