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March 31, 2009
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878.

KU debaters bring home National Debate Tournament championship

Brett Bricker, left, Wichita senior, coach Scott Harris, center, and Nate Johnson, Manhattan senior, celebrate with their championship trophy in the early morning hours March 31 at the National Debate Tournament finals at the University of Texas.

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas debaters Brett Bricker and Nate Johnson defeated defending national champion Wake Forest to win KU’s first National Debate Tournament championship in 26 years.

For Scott Harris, KU’s debate coach the past 18 years, it was his first national NDT title. KU has had teams in the tournament for the last 42 years and won national titles in 1954, 1970, 1976 and 1983.

“Congratulations to Brett, Nate and Coach Harris for this national championship trophy to reward their top performances all year and to continue the many years of winning debate tradition at the University of Kansas,” said Chancellor Robert Hemenway.

The Bricker-Johnson duo topped 79 intercollegiate teams competing March 27-31 at the University of Texas-Austin. Others in the NDT Final Four, all top-ranked throughout the year, were University of California-Berkeley, Northwestern University and Wake Forest University.

“Brett and Nate's performance at the tournament was spectacular," Harris said. "They are two of the brightest and hardest working students I have ever worked with and what they accomplished was incredible. Their success was also the product of a lot of hard work by all of the KU assistant coaches and the rest of the KU debaters who worked hard to help them. This was one of the toughest final four fields ever.”

Bricker, a mathematics major, is the son of Gary and Norma Bricker and a graduate of Wichita High School Southeast. Johnson, who is majoring in philosophy, political science and psychology, is the son of Ron and Betty Johnson and a graduate of Manhattan High School.

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