HAYS, KS -- FHSU finished among the top 10 at the 56th National Debate Tournament at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, March 23 through March 26, 2002.
"There was so much talent at the NDT (national debate tournament) that these accomplishments easily rank as their career bests," said Dr. William Shanahan, FHSU debate coach and assistant professor of communication.
Every year's national debate tournament features one particular topic for the nation's top debaters. This year's topic involved the subject that "the United States Federal Government should substantially increase federal control throughout Indian Country in one or more of the following areas: child welfare, criminal justice, employment, environmental protection, gaming, resource management, taxation." FHSU first qualified for the national tournament in 1961, and then again consecutively in 1999, 2000, 2001 and its most recent competition for 2002.
Fort Hays State University defeated three of the top four teams in the country in the preliminary rounds. Joe Ramsey, Sterling senior, and Jason Regnier, Salina senior, defeated University of California-Berkeley, ranked fourth in the nation; Dartmouth University, a university which has been consecutively competing for 49 years at the national tourney and ranked first in the nation, and Northwestern University, ranked second, which has qualified for the national debate tournament 45 times since 1947, the nation's first NDT.
For individual speaker awards, Regnier was ranked seventh and Joe Ramsey followed with an eighth-place speaker award out of the nation's 156 top competitors.
FHSU was defeated by Northwestern University, which ultimately won the tournament, in a 2-3 loss record for the round. After competing with the 28 teams who qualified for the elimination rounds, FHSU tied for ninth in the country.
FHSU's victory at the tournament sparked interest among competing debate teams, which was the reason competitors sent observers and scouts to document and observe Fort Hays State debate style, tactics and arguments.
"Fort Hays State debate has arrived like never before," said Shanahan. "Proving that they could go toe-to-toe with the perennial powerhouses shows that we have what it takes."