Emporia State black debate team makes history

Emporia State University

EMPORIA, Kansas (AP) — A two-man debate team from Emporia State is enjoying the notoriety of being the first team to win two prestigious national tournaments in a week.

And they did it as the first black team to win, using a style honed in urban debate leagues.

Ryan Wash and Elijah Smith won the National Debate Tournament Tuesday in Utah, just a week after winning the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament a week before.

Wash, a graduate of Kansas City’s Central High School, used a tactic that is criticized in the debate world.

The team personalized its arguments, when traditional debate encourages sticking to the topic.

Wash and Smith were honored Wednesday at Emporia State with an indoor parade while students and faculty applauded.

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