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University Relations

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Dec. 23 , 2008
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878, .

KU ends semester No. 1 in nation in varsity debate in National Debate Tournament report

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas debate team continues its winning tradition, ending the semester as No. 1 in the nation in the National Debate Tournament varsity team rankings.

The National Debate Tournament ranks teams in December and April each year based on points earned by teams in a variety of tournaments.

KU ranked ahead of the University of California-Berkeley, Northwestern University, Emory University and the University of Oklahoma. Four of the top 10 varsity teams are from Big 12 Conference schools and also include Baylor University, sixth, and Kansas State University, ninth. Others in the list are Towson University, Gonzaga University and Missouri State University.

The varsity rankings are based on points earned by teams competing in open varsity or senior-level tournaments. The NDT also has an overall ranking based on total points accumulated including varsity, junior varsity and novice. KU is ranked second in the final overall rankings behind Liberty University.

In overall rankings, KU ranked second out of 114 National Debate Tournament schools. Liberty University was ranked first. Other schools in the top 10 overall are, in order behind Liberty and KU, Binghamton, K-State, UC Berkeley, OU, Northwestern, Emory, U.S. Military Academy and Baylor.

Particularly noteworthy for KU debaters this fall, Brett Bricker, Wichita senior, and Nate Johnson, Manhattan senior, became the first KU team to win not only the prestigious University of Kentucky invitational tournament but also the Harvard University tournament that attracted the top 80 intercollegiate teams. The Kentucky round-robin tournament has been hosted annually for the preseason top nine teams in the country since 1972.

Of the Harvard win, KU Debate Coach Scott Harris said, “Winning the Harvard tournament is an incredible accomplishment. It is the most difficult tournament in the country to win.”

Debate season concludes March 28-April 1 with the National Debate Tournament in Austin, Texas. KU debaters have qualified for NDT nationals for the last 41 years. In April, for the second time in three years, KU debaters ended the 2007-08 season ranked No. 1 in NDT varsity rankings.

Harris is in his 18th year coaching the debate team. Communication studies students assisting Harris this year are doctoral students Brian DeLong, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Phillip Samuels, Lawrence; Michael Souders, Manhattan; Sarah Topp, Lawrence; Ben Warner, Price, Utah; and Kelly Winfrey, Raymore, Mo.; and master’s degree students Travis Cram, Cheyenne, Wyo.; Athena Murray, Dorr, Mich.; and Lindsey Shook, Tulsa, Okla.

Debate team members are listed below by hometown, year in school, major, parents’ names and high school, when available.

From Lawrence 66049 and Manhattan
Andrew Jack, sophomore in chemical engineering, son of Steven Jack of Lawrence and Pamela Jack of Manhattan; Manhattan High School.

From Leawood 66206
Patrick Kennedy, freshman in engineering, son of Chris and Joan Kennedy; Shawnee Mission East High School.

Sean Kennedy, sophomore in linguistics, son of Chris and Joan Kennedy; Shawnee Mission East High School.

From Overland Park 66224
Erum Shah, senior in political science, daughter of Pir and Saieda Shah; Blue Valley Northwest High School.

From Parsons 67357 and Joplin, Mo.
Shaun Dwyer, freshman preparing to study law, son of Jackie Dwyer of Parsons and Steve Thompson of Joplin, Mo.; Parsons Senior High School.

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

From Manhattan 66503 and Lawrence

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.

From Wichita 67208 and 67218
Dylan Quigley, junior in philosophy, son of Tim Quigley (67218) and Trix Niemberger (67208); Wichita High School East.

From Wichita 67218
Kai Davis, freshman in political science, son of John Davis; Wichita High School Southeast.

Mathew Petersen, sophomore in economics, son of Laura Peterson-Miller and Virgil Miller; Wichita High School East.

From Topeka 66601
Devon Cantwell, freshman preparing to study business, daughter of Joyce Cantwell; Washburn Rural High School.

From Topeka 66604 and 66610
Mark Wilkins, freshman in political science, son of Brent Wilkins (66610) and Janis Hinkle (66604); Washburn Rural High School.

From Blue Springs 64015 and Lee’s Summit 64081
Alyssa Kennedy, freshman in philosophy, daughter of Jerry Kennedy of Blue Springs and Rita Jackson of Lee’s Summit; Lee’s Summit Senior High School.

From Joplin 64804 and Parsons, Kan.


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