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March 26, 2008
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878.

KU debaters place second at national tournament

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas debaters Nate Johnson and Christopher Stone took second place at the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament held March 21-24 at Wichita State University.

The KU team won 13 consecutive debates at the tournament before Towson State University of Maryland won the championship. Towson’s coaches, Chris Baron and Beth Skinner, are KU alumni.

“It is the best performance ever for a KU team at the CEDA national tournament,” said debate coach Scott Harris.

In two days of debates, the field of 182 teams was narrowed to 64 for single-elimination debates. Six KU teams advanced to the round of 64: Johnson and Stone; Brett Bricker and Andrew Jennings; Kyle Shernuk and Christopher Thomas; Ronnie Press and Dylan Quigley; Joel Kasten and Sean Kennedy; and Andrew Jack and Mathew Petersen.

Shernuk and Thomas advanced to the round of 32. Bricker and Jennings advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to the Towson team that won the tournament.

Johnson and Stone and Bricker and Jennings went 8-0 in the preliminary debates and were the top two seeds heading into elimination rounds.

In addition, several KU debaters earned individual awards and were named to All-American debate teams.

Four KU students finished among the top eight individual speakers at the tournament from a field of 364 debaters. Johnson was the second place individual debater, Stone was fourth, Jennings was fifth and Bricker was eighth.

Erum Shah and Shernuk, Bricker, Johnson, Press and Jennings were named to the academic All-American debate team. Quigley and Jennings were named to the All-American debate team.

Earlier this month, Mark Wilkins and Sean Kennedy won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament, the championship for freshmen and sophomores. Johnson County Community College hosted the event March 17. Jack and Petersen captured third place at the tournament.

This week, Bricker, Jennings, Johnson and Stone will represent KU at the National Debate Tournament at the California State University-Fullerton.

The KU student debaters are listed below by hometown, major, level in school, parents’ names and high schools.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence 66049 and Manhattan 66503
Andrew Jack, freshman in chemical engineering, son of Steven Jack of Lawrence and Pamela Jack of Manhattan; Manhattan High School.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Leawood 66206
Sean Kennedy, freshman in linguistics, son of Chris and Joan Kennedy; Shawnee Mission East High School.

From Overland Park 66213
Kyle Shernuk, senior in East Asian languages and cultures and pre-medicine, son of Kurt and Pamela Shernuk; Blue Valley Northwest High School.

Christopher Thomas, sophomore in political science, son of Denise Stock; Blue Valley Northwest High School.

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

RILEY COUNTY
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 66049
Andrew Jack. See DOUGLAS COUNTY

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.

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

From Wichita 67207
Joel Kasten, junior in political science, son of Roger and Leah Kasten; Wichita High School Southeast.

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

From Wichita 67218
Mathew Petersen, sophomore in economics, son of Laura Petersen-Miller and Virgil Miller; Wichita High School East.

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

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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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