March 26, 2004

Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878,

KU debaters get to Sweet 16 in national CEDA contest, finish 6th overall

LAWRENCE -- When the University of Kansas men's basketball team was defeating the University of the Pacific in NCAA tournament on March 21 in Kansas City, Mo., to advance to the Sweet 16, the KU debate team at the same time also was advancing to the Sweet 16 at the Cross Examination Debate Association national championship tournament at the University of Kentucky at Louisville.

More than 200 teams gathered March 18 through 22 for this year's CEDA national competition. After two days of matches involving eight debates by each team, the top 65 teams at the tournament qualified for the single elimination round bracket. Two KU debate teams qualified for elimination debates. The March 21 debates ended at almost the same time as the basketball game, said Scott Harris, KU debate coach.

KU sophomores Matt Cormack, Lincoln, Neb., and Lindy Simonsen, Omaha, Neb., defeated the University of Missouri-Columbia in the round of 64 and the University of Texas at Austin in the round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16. KU narrowly missed having two teams advance to the Sweet 16. KU seniors Todd Jordan, Lenexa, and Jordan Tinsley, Little Rock, Ark., defeated the University of Oklahoma in the round of 64 and lost a 2-1 split decision to a Cornell University team they had defeated earlier in the tournament.

Jordan and Tinsley qualified for elimination debates with a 7-1 record over the first two days while Cormack and Simonsen were 6-2 in the preliminary rounds.

After finals competition on March 22, KU debaters brought home sixth place in the National Sweepstakes Awards. The CEDA national rankings calculate performance of two teams from a school at a tournament, including varsity, junior varsity or novice divisions. In the Sweet 16 competition, California State University at Fullerton defeated KU.

This year Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., was the No. 1 team, defeating debaters from the University of North Texas at Denton. In preliminary rounds, KU's team of Jordan and Tinsley defeated the Emory team that won the tournament, and the Jordan-Tinsley team's only loss was to the Emory team that finished third.

In addition, the CEDA organization honorees at the end of the year include individual recognitions for an All-American team and an Academic All-American team. Jordan was named an All-American debater based on his debate success during the season. Tinsley earned Academic All-American team status based on his achievements in both debate and the classroom. KU has participated eight years in the CEDA tournament, which is an open competition that any school can attend.

KU will close its debate season for the 2003-04 academic year on the same weekend as the NCAA Final Four when it participates in the National Debate Tournament in Washington, D.C. Unlike CEDA, National Debate Tournament participation requires prequalification rounds of regional competitions that select the top 74 teams in the country. KU has qualified 52 times for National Debate Tournament nationals. Both organizations sponsor national tournaments with different debate topics and formulas to select national award winners, Harris said.

Names of KU student debaters at the CEDA tournament, their hometowns, level in school, majors, parents' names and high schools are:

JOHNSON COUNTY From Lenexa Todd A. Jordan, senior in history, son of Terry and Marilyn Jordan; Shawnee Mission West High School graduate.

RENO COUNTY From Hutchinson Michael Bretches, freshman in pre-law, son of Ron Bretches; Hutchinson Senior High School graduate.

SHAWNEE COUNTY From Topeka Jonathan Wright, freshman in pre-journalism, son of Jeffrey and Sonya Wright; Washburn Rural High School graduate.

ARKANSAS From Little Rock Jordan Tinsley, senior in English, son of Ed and Paula Tinsley; Little Rock Central High School graduate.

NEBRASKA From Lincoln Matthew Travis Cormack, sophomore in economics, son of Craig and Linda Cormack; Southeast High School graduate.

From Omaha Lindy Simonsen, sophomore in pre-secondary education, daughter of Roger and Barbara Simonsen; Millard South High School graduate.


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