UNT debate students Kuntal Cholera and Grant Peretz won a Cross Examination Debate Association-sanctioned tournament at the University of Texas at Dallas held in mid-January.
Cholera, a senior economics major from Clear Lake, and Peretz, a freshman biological sciences major from Glenview, Ill., posted a perfect 12-0 record at the tournament, which was attended by more than 100 two-student teams representing universities throughout the nation. Cholera and Peretz clinched the top seed in the tournament's elimination rounds after defeating seven teams in preliminary rounds, then went on to defeat teams from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oklahoma, Wyoming University and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., to win the tournament.
All of the Cross Examination Debate Association-sanctioned tournaments focus on policy debate. The topic for each of this year's debates is whether the U.S. government should substantially reduce its agricultural support for biofuels, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, corn, cotton, daily, fisheries, rice, soybeans, sugar and/or wheat. Students must debate both the pro and the con sides.
Cholera was named the best speaker out of more than 200 students at the UT-Dallas tournament, which is his second "best speaker" award that he has received during the 2008-09 academic year. In November, he was named the best speaker out of 274 students competing at the 2008 Franklin R. Shirley Dixie Classic at Wake Forest University.
Cholera has received several other top speaker awards at intercollegiate debate tournaments since joining the UNT Debate Team. For two years, he was named the top speaker at the District III Qualifying Tournament for the prestigious National Debate Tournament, which is open to the top 74 two-student teams in the nation. District III includes debate programs at colleges and universities in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Cholera's competitive wins at the qualifying tournament resulted in him being selected for the National Debate Tournament in 2008, 2007 and 2006. He was the 12th ranked speaker at the 2008 National Debate Tournament last March.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service
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