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April 2, 2008
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878.

KU seniors win individual honors at National Debate Tournament

LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas debaters received top individual honors March 31 at the National Debate Tournament at California State University-Fullerton.

Brett Bricker of Wichita earned third place as an individual debater, and Andrew Jennings of Silver Lake and Topeka earned eighth place as an individual debater. Both are seniors at KU.

Bricker and Jennings advanced as far as the Elite Eight level before losing to a Dartmouth team. A second KU team of Nate Johnson, Manhattan senior, and Christopher Stone, Derby sophomore, also competed in the Sweet 16 round before suffering a loss to a Missouri State team.

“These four students are outstanding debaters and even better people and they should be very proud of their performance at the national tournaments,” said debate coach Scott Harris.

This was the second consecutive year that Bricker and Jennings competed at the Elite Eight level in the national tournament. Last year, they were the third-ranked first-round at-large team. Johnson was in the Sweet 16 in 2007.

The National Debate Tournament is composed of the best 78 debate teams in the country that qualified for the tournament. Each team debated eight times over three days, and the field was narrowed to the top 28 teams for single elimination debates. Each elimination debate is decided by a panel of five judges. Wake Forest University defeated Dartmouth University to win the tournament.

Both KU teams were among the top 16 individual teams ranked by the tournament selection committee and given automatic, or at-large, bids. Although KU regularly sends two teams to the tournament, this was the first time since 1998 that two KU teams received first-round at-large invitations. This was the 41st consecutive year that KU has qualified teams for the national tournament, the second-longest streak in the country behind the University of Southern California. KU has won the National Debate Tournament four times and advanced to the Final Four 13 times.

KU debaters competing at the tournament are listed below by hometown, year in school, major, parents’ names and high school, when available.

RILEY COUNTY
From Manhattan 66502
Nathaniel “Nate” Johnson, senior in philosophy, political science and psychology; son of Ron and Betty Johnson; Manhattan High School.

SEDGWICK COUNTY
From Derby 67037
Christopher Stone, sophomore in political science; son of Douglas and Gloria Stone; Derby High School.

From Wichita 67206
Brett Bricker, senior in mathematics; son of Gary and Norma Bricker; Wichita High School Southeast.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Silver Lake 66539 and Topeka 66614
Andrew Jennings, senior in political science; son of Joe Jennings of Silver Lake and Kathy Tallman of Topeka; Silver Lake Junior-Senior High School.

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