Student News

Kentucky Debate Team ranked for National Debate Tournament

The 2022-2023 Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team.
The 2022-2023 Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2023) — For the eighth year in a row, the University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team is ranked in the top 16 nationally as they enter the National Debate Tournament. The partnership of David Griffith and Austin Kiihnl received a coveted first-round automatic bid to the National Debate Tournament. Kentucky has received a first-round bid each of the past eight years, which ties a UK record (1984-1991). This is UK’s 30th first round bid and marks 50 years of qualifying for the national tournament.

“Austin and David have been the blueprint for planning, setting goals and working to turn goals to achievements. They are a model for what hard work and determination can accomplish,” said Associate Debate Director Devane Murphy. “This is only the beginning of what I believe will be a very successful run for our top team moving forward.”

The team recently won the Hoosier Invitational at the University of Indiana. The three-day event saw 162 debaters from 25 universities compete, and in the final round, the duo of Griffith and Kiihnl defeated the University of Michigan on a 2-1 decision. In addition to winning the tournament, five separate partnerships from Kentucky reached the elimination rounds, and four partnerships reached the Sweet 16.

“While the tournament win is impressive and a testament to our work ethic, I think the fact that this was a squad-wide effort sticks out to me most,” said Murphy. “They were locked in and provided that extra push we needed to be successful. I firmly believe that when we move as a team, we are unstoppable.”

The 2023 National Debate Tournament will be held March 31-April 3, 2023, and is hosted by Wake Forest University.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.