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University Relations

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March 22, 2005
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878; or Jan Hovden.

KU debate team reaches finals of National Junior Division Debate

LAWRENCE -- For the second straight year, a team of student debaters from the University of Kansas advanced to the final round of the National Junior Division Debate Tournament, held March 12 through 14 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.

Three more KU teams got to the elimination rounds of the tournament that showcases students in their first two years of collegiate debate competition. In addition to the team awards, KU received five of the top 10 individual speaker awards.

Reaching the final round of competition were Jon Wright, Topeka sophomore, and Michael Bretches, Hutchinson sophomore. Three more KU teams advanced through several elimination rounds. Nate Johnson, Manhattan sophomore, and Andrew Jennings, Silver Lake freshman, were in the semifinals; Lindsey Lathrop, Overland Park sophomore, and Brett Bricker, Wichita sophomore, quarterfinals; and Scott Smith, Hutchinson sophomore, and Chris Miller, Silver Lake freshman, first elimination round.

KU students who earned overall speaker awards were Jennings, second; Johnson, third; Bricker, fourth; Lathrop, sixth; and Bretches, 10th.

Last year, a KU team won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament. This spring, the team members, Lindy Simonsen, Omaha, Neb., junior, and Matt Cormack, Lincoln, Neb., junior, earned a bid to the National Debate Tournament March 24 through 28 at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash.

Scott Harris, assistant specialist in communication studies, has coached the team the past 14 years. KU communication studies graduate students assisting Harris this year are doctoral students Jan Hovden, Lawrence, and Thomas O'Toole, Glencoe, Mo., and master's degree students Phillip Samuels, Emporia, and Sarah Topp, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

KU debaters who competed in the National Junior Division tournament, their hometowns, majors, parents and high schools are:

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Overland Park
Lindsey Lathrop, sophomore in political science, daughter of Robert and Kathy Lathrop; Blue Valley Northwest High School.

RENO COUNTY
From Hutchinson
Michael Bretches, sophomore in pre-accounting and business administration, son of Ron Bretches; Hutchinson Senior High School.
Scott Smith, sophomore in biology (genetics concentration), son of Mr. and Mrs. Gary N. Smith; Hutchinson Senior High School.

RILEY COUNTY
From Manhattan
Nate Johnson, sophomore in political science and pre-law, son of Ronald and Betty Johnson; Manhattan High School.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Wichita
Brett Bricker, sophomore in mathematics, son of Gary and Norma Bricker; Wichita High School Southeast.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Silver Lake
Chris Miller, freshman in political science, son of Gerald and Laura Miller; Silver Lake Junior-Senior High School.
Andrew Jennings, freshman in political science, son of Kathy Jennings; Silver Lake Junior-Senior High School.
From Topeka
Jon Wright, sophomore in journalism and mass communications (strategic communications emphasis), son of Jeffrey and Sonya Wright; Washburn Rural High School.

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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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