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Eagan policy debaters win state title after finishing runners-up last year

After finishing runners-up last year, Eagan High School juniors Eric Li and Archan Sen won the state title in policy debate during the 2022 Minnesota State High School League state debate tournament held online Jan. 14 and 15. Twenty-two District 196 students qualified for and competed at this year’s state debate tournament and 15 advanced to the final rounds of their competition. 

Li and Sen were the Section 3AA champions and the #1 seed heading into the final rounds of the state tournament. In the finals, they defeated teams from St. Paul Como Park, Edina and Minneapolis South high schools to win the state title. In the championship, they argued the affirmative to this year’s policy resolution that the federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States. Debaters must be able to argue the affirmative and negative sides of a topic. Flynn Gray and Natu Daniel of Eagan also advanced to the final rounds of competition in policy debate and were defeated in the quarterfinals.

In public forum debate, Eastview High School seniors Isaiah Dalzell and Izhan Qureishy were also Section 3AA champions and the #1 seed in the final rounds. They advanced to the championship match and finished state runners-up to go with last year’s finish in the semifinal round. Malaya Galindez and Caden Hubbs of Eastview also advanced to the final rounds of competition in public forum debate and were defeated in the quarterfinals. This year’s public forum resolution was, Resolved: The United States federal government should legalize all illicit drugs.”

In Lincoln-Douglas debate, Nora Bolsoni of Apple Valley High School and Aerin Engelstad and Daniel Wochnick of Eagan advanced to the finals and were defeated in quarterfinals. This year’s Lincoln-Douglas resolution was, “Resolved: The appropriation of outer space by private entities is unjust.”

In Congressional debate, Abiha Kashif of Eagan finished in seventh place, Samrawit Tesfaye of Eastview took eighth, and Allison Champ of Eastview and Olivia Noll of Eagan advanced to the finals but did not place. Students simulate the legislative process and debate a wide variety of bills and resolutions for the Congressional debate competition.

This was the 121st annual state debate tournament, the longest-running MSHSL event, and the second consecutive tournament held online.