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Speech and Debate team wins UNL's first Big Ten title

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The UNL speech and debate team became the first Nebraska team to win a Big Ten title with its victory at the Conference Challenge Tournament, Oct. 8-9 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

UNL led the field with a two-day point total of 261 points, ahead of tournament host and second-place finisher Northwestern at 138 points.

In addition to the team championship in a conference that has a long tradition of academic excellence and excellence in speech and debate, UNL students captured seven individual Big Ten titles. Senior Nick Herink of Omaha won conference championships in prose interpretation, dramatic interpretation, and duo interpretation with partner sophomore Grace Kluck of Lincoln.

Other students winning conference championships included senior Jimmy Simpson Jr. of Lyons in persuasive speaking, senior Eli Barts of Bellevue in informative speaking, junior Lauren Schaal of Omaha in after-dinner speaking and sophomore Josh Planos of Omaha in program oral interpretation.

"Our students worked hard to be prepared for the tournament and it was exciting to see their efforts pay off," said team director Aaron Duncan.

"This confirms my view that in specific academic areas we will lead in the Big Ten and are certainly competitive with them," said UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

The team is part of UNL's Department of Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. The department explores human communication as it shapes and is shaped by relationships, institutions and societies. Its main areas of expertise are interpersonal and family communication, organizational communication, and rhetoric and public culture.

For more information on the department or the speech and debate team, go to http://www.unl.edu/cs.