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April 7, 2006
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878.

KU debaters finish 2nd in national CEDA rankings, reach Sweet 16 at tournament

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas debate team concluded its academic year of competition by finishing second overall in the Cross Examination Debate Association national rankings based on the number of wins over the course of the 2005-06 season. The KU team finished second behind Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

At the CEDA national championship tournament March 31-April 5 in Dallas, Texas, two of four KU debate teams reached the Sweet 16 rounds. Harvard won the tournament at the top of 193 teams in the competition. The CEDA tournament is an intercollegiate event open to any team that wants to attend; consequently, schools were not ranked going into the national event.

Of his students’ performances, coach Scott Harris said, “I'm proud of the team’s accomplishments this year. Finishing second in the season-long competition illustrates the level of depth and talent we have on our squad. I am looking forward to another successful season next year.”

Reaching CEDA’s Sweet 16 were the team of Matt Cormack, Lincoln, Neb, senior, and Andrew Jennings, Silver Lake sophomore, and the team of Brett Bricker, Wichita sophomore, and Lindsey Lathrop, Overland Park junior.

Cormack and Jennings went 6-2 in preliminary competition and beat teams from Emporia State University and West Georgia College before losing to Northwestern University. In preliminary rounds, they defeated teams from Fresno City College, Fort Hays State University, University of Wyoming, University of Oregon, Michigan State University and Gonzaga University.

Bricker and Lathrop went 5-3 in preliminary rounds and beat teams from Wake Forest University and Emory University before losing to Dartmouth. Their five preliminary wins were over the University of Georgia, University of Texas, two teams from Wake Forest University and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In addition, the team of Jon Wright, Topeka junior, and Nate Johnson, Manhattan junior, won six of their preliminary rounds to reach elimination rounds. In the first elimination round they beat a team from California State University-Fullerton before losing to George Washington University in their second elimination round debate. To get to the elimination rounds, they defeated teams from Idaho State University, Harvard, United States Military Academy at West Point, University of Denver and two teams from Michigan State University.

The first-year team of Ronnie Press, Wichita freshman, and Joel Kasten, Wichita freshman, went 4-4 in preliminary rounds, failing to win the requisite five rounds to reach elimination rounds. In preliminary rounds, they defeated teams from the University of Florida, Western Illinois University, University of Texas and Cornell University.

Two KU debaters received individual awards. Cormack placed 22nd in individual award competition and Bricker placed 28th. Cormack was one of 40 individuals selected for the All-American debate team, an award that recognizes a combination of competitive success as well as service to the debate community.

Harris has coached the KU debate team the past 15 years. KU communication studies graduate students assisting Harris this year are doctoral students Jan Hovden, Lawrence; Michael Souders, Topeka; Sarah Topp, Pelican Rapids, Minn.; master’s degree student Phillip Samuels, Emporia; and Lindy Simonsen, Omaha, Neb., senior.

Debate team members are listed below by name, hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names and high school attended:

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

RILEY COUNTY
From Manhattan
Nate Johnson, junior 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.

Joel Kasten, freshman in political science, son of Roger and Leah Kasten; Wichita High School Southeast.

Ronnie Press, freshman in political science, son of Arthur and Judith Press; Wichita High School Southeast.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Silver Lake
Andrew Jennings, sophomore in political science, son of Joe and Kathy Jennings; Silver Lake Junior-Senior High School.

From Topeka
Jon Wright, junior in journalism and mass communications (strategic communications emphasis) and political science, son of Jeffrey and Sonya Wright; Washburn Rural High School.

NEBRASKA
From Lincoln
Matt Cormack, senior in economics and political science, son of Craig and Linda Cormack; Lincoln Southeast High School.

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