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Lewis & Clark debaters win prestigious debate tournament

November 06, 2012

Lewis & Clark debaters Joe Hykan (‘13) and Benjamin Mann (‘14) won the prestigious Pat Kennedy Round Robin debate tournament, held November 2 at the University of the Pacific.

The round robin tournament, open only to twelve of the top parliamentary debate teams in the nation, focused on topics of mass transportation and public transit. Along with the University of the Pacific, the event was co-hosted by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. Among the topics debated were high-speed rail, self driving cars, emission reduction and eminent domain issues.

Hykan and Mann won six of their seven debates, defeating teams from Pepperdine University, the College of Idaho and the University of California at Los Angeles in early debates.

After defeating Concordia University in the semifinal debate, the Lewis & Clark duo debated a team from Southern Illinois University in the final round. Southern Illinois is consistently one of the top debate programs in the nation, and currently has the top team in the nation. In addition, the final debate was unique because it was judged by an audience of the public instead of debate professionals. Hykan and Mann connected well with the audience and won by a 55-35 margin.

Hykan, who is currently ranked on the 8th placed team in the nation, was also named the 3rd best individual speaker at the event.

Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said of the victory, “It is an incredible honor to win the Pat Kennedy Round Robin. The field of teams at that tournament is impressive, and it is a testament to Joe and Ben’s hard work that they came out on top. I am especially proud of the fact that we were able to win debates in front of both an audience of debate judges as well as the broader audience of local community members.”

For more information on Lewis & Clark Forensics, please contact Director of Forensics Joe Gantt at