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University Relations

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March 9, 2005
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878.

KU debate teams to compete in national tournament March 24-28

LAWRENCE -- Two University of Kansas debate teams have qualified to compete in the National Debate Tournament March 24 through 28 at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. This marks the 38th consecutive year KU teams have qualified for the national tournament.

Last week the KU team of Jordan Tinsley, Little Rock, Ark., junior, and Todd Jordan, Lenexa senior, qualified via the district tournament at the University of Texas at Dallas. The district tournament determined which of the 19 teams competing would obtain one of the eight national slots allocated to the district, composed of schools from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.

In February, the KU team of Matt Cormack, Lincoln, Neb., senior, and Lindy Simonsen, Omaha, Neb., junior, qualified for the tournament via first-round-at-large bid, which is reserved for the top 16 two-person teams in the country. Cormack and Simonsen earned the elite status of first-round national tournament qualifiers by applying to the National Debate Tournament Committee, which chose them based on their season record.

The Tinsley and Jordan team won six of eight debates to earn the right to compete at the National Debate Tournament. The team finished third at the district tournament behind teams from the University of Texas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

KU has qualified for the national tournament 38 consecutive times, the second-longest active streak in the country. KU debaters have won the coveted national title four times. KU has sent more teams to the National Debate Tournament than any other college or university, and KU recently began a tradition of competition in the Cross-Examination Debate Association.

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, Layton, Utah, and Thomas O'Toole, Glencoe, Mo., and master's degree students Phillip Samuels, Emporia, and Sarah Topp, Pelican Rapids, Minn.

The KU debaters who will compete in the national tournament, their hometowns, parents' names and high schools are:

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

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

From Lincoln
Matthew Travis Cormack, junior in political science and economics, son of Craig and Linda Cormack; Southeast High School.

From Omaha
Lindy Simonsen, junior in women's studies and preparing to major in education, daughter of Roger and Barbara Simonsen; Millard South High School.


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