KU News Release

March 31, 2011
Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, 785-864-9878

KU ends season by making it to sweet 16 at National Debate Tournament

More Information

LAWRENCE — University of Kansas debaters ended the 2011 season at the National Debate Tournament by advancing into the sweet 16 round.

The team of senior Dylan Quigley and junior Sean Kennedy advanced to the sweet 16. Quigley and Kennedy lost in that round to the eventual national champions from Northwestern University on a 4-3 split decision.

It was the second consecutive year that Quigley and Kennedy lost to the eventual national champions in the sweet 16. It was the seventh consecutive year that KU has advanced a team to at least the sweet 16 at the tournament. KU won the National Debate Tournament in 2009.

Three KU teams qualified to compete in the 78-team field at the tournament, held March 25-29 in Dallas. This was the second consecutive year that KU had qualified three teams for the tournament.

All teams compete in eight preliminary debates over three days, and teams that compile a winning record over the eight debates advance to the single elimination rounds.

The teams of Quigley-Kennedy and Patrick Kennedy-Mathew Petersen both advanced to the single elimination bracket. The team of Melanie Campbell and Mark Wilkins missed qualifying for the elimination rounds by a single ballot after losing a 2-1 split decision to Northwestern University in their final debate.

In the first elimination debate, Quigley and Kennedy defeated Kansas State University on a 5-0 decision to advance to the sweet 16. Kennedy and Petersen lost a 3-2 split decision to the host school from the University of Texas-Dallas in the first elimination round. Both teams ended the year ranked in the top 10 in the National Debate Tournament rankings. Quigley and Kennedy were ranked seventh in the country, and Kennedy-Petersen were ranked 10th.

Earlier this month, the teams of Quigley-Kennedy and Kennedy-Petersen competed at the Cross Examination Debate Association Tournament in Binghamton, N.Y.

Kennedy-Petersen advanced to the final four of the tournament, held March 19-22, losing a 2-1 split decision in the semifinals to Towson State University. Quigley-Kennedy were undefeated in preliminary rounds at the tournament and advanced to elimination rounds as the top seed. Sean Kennedy won the award for first place individual speaker, and Dylan Quigley was the second place individual speaker. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament where they lost to Towson State. They had defeated Towson earlier in the preliminary rounds of the tournament.

“This is a special group of students who had a remarkable season,” said coach Scott Harris. “It is heartbreaking to have the season end for each team in such close split decision debates, but I am very proud of their performance.”

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

From Leawood 66206
Patrick Michael Kennedy, junior in economics; Chris and Joan Kennedy; Shawnee Mission East High School.

Sean Christopher Kennedy, junior in linguistics; Chris and Joan Kennedy; Shawnee Mission East High School.

From Lenexa 66215
Melanie Tara Campbell, sophomore in political science; Kevin and Petra Campbell; Shawnee Mission West High School.

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

From Wichita 67218
Mathew Petersen, senior in economics; Laura Peterson-Miller and Virgil Miller; Wichita High School East.

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

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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