Twenty District 196 students qualified to compete in this year’s state debate tournament January 13-14 at the University of Minnesota and 12 advanced to the final rounds of competition in their category, including four who finished as runners-up.
Eagan High School seniors Eric Li and Archan Sen made it to the state championship in policy debate for the third year in a row. After finishing runner-up in 2021 and winning the state championship last year, Li and Sen finished runner-up in their final state tournament appearance. Natu Daniel and Param Thakkar of Eagan and Doha Elshennawy and Eden Yohannes of Rosemount High School also advanced to the final rounds in policy debate and were defeated in the quarterfinals. Debaters must prepare to argue both the affirmative and negative sides of the topic in competition.
In Lincoln-Douglas debate, Leah Willingham of Apple Valley finished state runner-up and Aerin Engelstad and Daniel Wochnick of Eagan both advanced to the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
Abiha Kashif of Eagan also made it to the final rounds of congressional debate for the second year in a row, finishing second among the eight state medalists this year. In congressional debate, students simulate the legislative process and debate a wide variety of bills and resolutions.
In public forum debate, Indigo Sabin and Lawrence Salonga of Eagan advanced to the final rounds of competition and were defeated in the quarterfinals.
This was the 122nd annual state debate tournament, the longest-running event of the Minnesota State High School League. This year’s tournament was held in-person for the first time since 2020.