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University Relations

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March 14, 2005
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878; or Jan Hovden.

KU first-year debate team wins National Novice Championship Tournament

LAWRENCE -- For the first time in KU debate history, a two-person team in its first year of competition won the National Novice Championship Tournament, held March 5 through 7 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Thirteen teams participated.

Lindsey Lathrop, Overland Park sophomore in political science, and Brett Bricker, Wichita sophomore in mathematics, won the event that was created to recognize outstanding first-year debaters. All team members must be in their first year of college debate to be eligible to compete at the novice level. Lathrop, the daughter of Robert and Kathy Lathrop, is a Blue Valley Northwest High School graduate. Bricker is the son of Gary and Norma Bricker and is a Wichita High School Southeast graduate.

Another KU novice pair advanced to the semifinal tournament rounds, the team of Andrew Jennings, Silver Lake freshman in political science, and Nate Johnson, Manhattan sophomore in political science and pre-law. Jennings is the son of Kathy Jennings and is a Silver Lake Junior-Senior High School graduate. Johnson, the son of Ronald and Betty Johnson, is a Manhattan High School graduate.

In addition to the team awards at the novice tournament, individual speaker awards went to Jennings, who placed third; Bricker, fourth; and Johnson, ninth, in individual ratings.

Jan Hovden, a KU debate team coach and a doctoral student in communication studies from Lawrence, said getting to the semifinal rounds is the novice championship equivalent of the Final Four in college basketball. Other coaches working with the KU debate program are Scott Harris, head coach and assistant specialist in communication studies; and communication studies graduate students, including Thomas O'Toole, Glencoe, Mo., doctoral student, and master's degree students Phillip Samuels, Emporia, and Sarah Topp, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

In March, KU debate teams will compete at several national tournaments for students who have debated at the intercollegiate level from one to four years, culminating with the National Debate Tournament March 25 through 27 at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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