POCATELLO — Idaho State University students Roger Copenhaver and Matea Ivanovic were undefeated and took home the top prize at the Northwest District Debate Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash., recently. The win earned them a trip to the national debate tournament.
Seventeen teams from ISU, Whitman College, Gonzaga University, University of Puget Sound, Weber State University and The University of Wyoming competed in the district tournament and five qualified for the national debate tournament.
“After weathering a super storm, debating in competition for 261 hours and spending 47 days traveling to debate tournaments, one would think this team is ready for a rest,” said Sarah Partlow Lefevre, ISU’s director of debate. “However, the season is not quite over and Ivanovic and Copenhaver are gearing up to compete atnationals.”
Leading up to the district championships, Ivanovic and Copenhaver participated in 10 intercollegiate debate tournaments between September and February. They traveled to the universities of Kentucky, Harvard, Wake Forest, Southern California and Northwestern.
The duo maintained a record of 66.66 percent as they took part in 72 preliminary debates. While in single elimination debates, they won seven of 11 debates resulting in victory 63 percent of the time.
Notable finishes included fifthplace finishes at Gonzaga, UNLV and California State University at Fullerton and a second-place finish from Idaho State University.
In addition, Ivanovic earned individual recognition for her speaking skills at Harvard (11th place), Idaho State (3rd place) and UNLV (10thplace). She also was elected by district coaches as “Most Valuable Player.”
“Ivanovic and Copenhaver have worked hard and have some big wins to show for it this season,” Partlow Lefevre said. “With the amount of time and energy they invest, it is nice to see them succeed.”
Ivanovic and Copenhaver, in concert with freshman-sophomore team Andrew Hoth and Kendra Doty, will compete at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament March 22-26 at ISU in Pocatello. The duo will then attend the national debate tournament hosted at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, set for March 28-April 1.
Copenhaver is originally from Seattle, and Ivanovic is from Boise.