Mercer Debate Sweeps First-Place Awards at 50th Annual Great Salt Lake Invitational

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Debate at Great Salt Lake

MACON – Mercer had the top team in both divisions and four debaters among the top 10 individuals overall in the 50th annual Great Salt Lake Invitational debate tournament held Jan. 18-20 at the University of Utah.

In the varsity division, Eduardo Rubio, senior computational science and economics double-major, and Taylor Cole, senior communication major, received the Malcolm O. Sillars Tournament Champion Award for winning the tournament.

Sanaa Yusuf, sophomore psychology major on the pre-med track, won the Richard Rieke Outstanding Debater award presented to the top-ranked speaker across both divisions.

Additionally, Cole was fourth-place speaker, Cameron Wade, sophomore religion and women’s and gender studies double-major, was sixth-place speaker and Cameron Dawkins, junior global health studies and Spanish double-major, was 10th-place speaker.

In the junior varsity division, the pairing of Yusuf and Wade, alongside Dawkins and Yasmeen Hill, junior journalism and media studies double-major, “closed out” the final round, meaning Mercer was declared the winner by virtue of two of its teams advancing to the finals.

“Mercer won first-place speaker, first place in the junior varsity division and first place in varsity – every single first-place award in parliamentary debate there was to win,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “These kinds of victories don’t just happen; they come from a great deal of work by remarkable students, often over many years, and a caring, supportive and inspiring faculty who make all of our victories possible. I could not be more proud of these students.”

Mercer’s next debate tournaments will be Feb. 7-9 at Valdosta State University and Feb. 21-24 in the National Round Robin at Concordia University.

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Kyle Sears