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KU Debate teams have strong showing at multiple tournaments

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas debate squad finished the fall semester ranked first in the country in the national varsity debate rankings and demonstrated their depth over the weekend of Jan. 21-23. KU debate teams scattered across the country to three different tournaments and had outstanding performances at all of them.

The team of freshman Kyndall Delph and junior Quaram Robinson debated at a select round-robin invitational hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and went undefeated in winning the tournament. Robinson was the first-place individual speaker at the tournament, and Delph was the third-place speaker. They defeated teams from Baylor, the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma, Wake Forest University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Central Oklahoma and Weber State University. It was the fourth tournament won by a KU team this season.

Sophomores Jacob Hegna and Henry Walter competed at another select round-robin tournament hosted by Dartmouth College. Hegna and Walter went 4-2 at the tournament with wins over Harvard University, Emory University, Northwestern University and Wake Forest University and losses to Georgetown University and the University of California- Berkeley. All six of their opponents are ranked in the top-10 teams in the country.

Meanwhile, 14 additional KU debaters competed at a tournament hosted by Wichita State University. The team of sophomore Christopher Fry and junior Will Katz reached the quarterfinals and took fifth place at the tournament. The teams of sophomores Lainey Schrag and Tyler Woodcock, senior Mikaela Wefald and freshman Kathryn Lipka, and freshmen Zoe Crater and Julia Henry all qualified for the single-elimination rounds and finished in the top 16. KU had 25 percent of the teams in the top 16 at the tournament. Will Katz was the ninth-place individual speaker, and freshman Saif Bajwa was the 10th-place speaker.

“We are very proud of the performance of all of the teams this weekend and thankful for the hard work of all the assistant coaches who sacrifice so much to help the debaters succeed,” said Brett Bricker, associate director of debate. “We are also grateful for the support of the university, the College of Arts & Sciences, the communication studies department, the Student Senate and alumni that enable us to travel so many students to different locations on the same weekend.”

Scott Harris, KU’s David B. Pittaway Director of Debate, also won an award over the weekend. He received the inaugural Jeffrey W. Jarman Person of the Year Award in recognition of his contributions to the larger debate community. Jarman is the associate director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University and a former Jayhawk with a doctorate in communication studies from KU. 

For questions or additional information, contact Scott Harris at sharris@ku.edu.

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