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Debate Team Dominates Southwest Region Rivals at Tournament
Young Team to Follow Up Record Results by Competing in National Tournament This Weekend in Iowa

Jacob Loehr

Jacob Loehr recently competed with teammate Anthony Ogbuli (not pictured) at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament. The pair will compete in the National Debate Tournament at the University of Iowa this weekend.

UT Dallas was the champion of the southwest region at the recent Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Tournament. Its two teams finished in the top 16 at the competition — a first for the program.

From March 20-23, 160 teams representing more than 80 schools competed in the CEDA tournament at Wichita State University.

The two UT Dallas teams were the pair of Jacob Loehr and Anthony Ogbuli, both juniors, and the freshman duo of Kyle Ballard and Thomas Flanagan.

“I’m very impressed with our students,” said Scott Herndon, UT Dallas debate program director. “Our results are the product of months and months of hard work. We have two young teams that are only growing stronger and we are well-positioned for the future.” 

Loehr said his most memorable moment of the CEDA tournament was debating against his fellow UT System students.

“With our wins over both UT Austin and UT San Antonio, I think we successfully solidified UT Dallas’ place among other UT schools,” Loehr said. “However, doing so well at this competition for a national title is not an exception to the rule. It’s how we think about every tournament. Show up and win.”

Kyle Ballard and Thomas Flanagan

Freshmen Thomas Flanagan (left) and Kyle Ballard finished in the top 16 at the recent CEDA tournament at Wichita State University.

Although the southwest title calls for celebration, the debate team’s work is hardly done. This weekend, the team of Loehr and Ogbuli will compete in the National Debate Tournament (NDT) at the University of Iowa.

“The CEDA tournament was a huge accomplishment, but we have no time to rest on our laurels. The season’s last tournament is fast approaching, and we are preparing,” Herndon said.

The NDT, which includes a total of 78 teams, has eight preliminary rounds. After the prelims, teams with a winning record will advance to single-elimination rounds. Last year, UT Dallas went into Round 8 with a record of 4-3 and lost a close decision to Northwestern University. 

Earlier this season, Ballard and Flanagan finished in the top eight at the JV Novice Nationals, a tournament for freshman and sophomore teams.

In college debate, two teams face off on a general topic — one taking the affirmative position, the other the negative side. The topic for this season is “Resolved: The United States should legalize one or more of the following: marijuana, organ sales, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide and/or prostitution.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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