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OU Debate Team Wins Fourth National Championship in Six Years



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NORMAN – For the fourth time in six years, a debate team from the University of Oklahoma Shannon Self Debate Program has captured the National University Debate Championship. The championship is awarded by the Cross Examination Debate Association and is the largest collegiate debate tournament in the United States. 

On Monday (March 26), OU senior RJ Giglio, business management major from Shreveport, La., and Chris Leonardi, a political science freshman from Dumas, Texas, defeated the opposition from Whitman College by a margin of 6 to 3, clinching the title at a competition that included 167 two-person teams from 65 U.S. colleges and universities.

“It is truly remarkable that OU can celebrate another national debate championship – the fourth in six years,” said OU President David L. Boren.  “The entire university family congratulates RJ Giglio, Chris Leonardi and Debate Coach Jackie Massey and his staff on this extraordinary accomplishment.” 

 “You are lucky to win this tournament once and fortunate if you win it twice. Winning it three times was remarkable, but this fourth victory proves the excellence of the student debaters at the University of Oklahoma,” said OU Debate Coach Jackie Massey.

In addition to their win, Giglio was named as the No. 2 speaker of the tournament and Leonardi earned the No. 7 spot. 

OU sophomore Rashid Campbell, African American studies major from Oakland, Calif., and OU junior George Lee, African-American studies major from Bryan, Texas, could not be beaten out of the tournament. They faced a higher seeded OU team, so they were advanced over by Giglio and Leonardi in the Octa-Final Debate after winning their two elimination debates on a 3 to 0 decision. 

CEDA, founded in 1971, is the primary national debate association promoting policy topic intercollegiate academic debate. More information is available at


 2013  |  2012  |  2011

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