KU debate team wins first place at Wake Forest University tournament

Contact: Scott Harris, debate coach, (785) 864-9878, sharris@ku.edu

Debate team finishes semester with victory at Wake Forest tournament


LAWRENCE – University of Kansas debaters Sean Kennedy and Dylan Quigley took first place at the prestigious Franklin R. Shirley Debate Tournament hosted by Wake Forest University.

The tournament field was composed of 142 teams from 61 schools from across the country. It was held Nov. 20-23.

Kennedy, a junior from Leawood, and Quigley, a senior from Wichita, won 12 debates over three days to win the tournament. In the tournament semifinals, they defeated the No. 2 team in the country from Harvard University. In the finals, they defeated the Emory University team that finished last year as the top-ranked team in the country.

Two other KU teams did well at the tournament. Patrick Kennedy, a junior from Leawood, and Mathew Petersen, a senior from Wichita, won six debates, including one over the No. 6 team in the country from Northwestern University. They finished as the 12th seeded team at the tournament.

Melanie Campbell, a sophomore from Lenexa, and Mark Wilkins, a junior from Topeka, also won six debates and finished as the 13th seed at the tournament.

Several KU debaters won individual speaker awards. Sean Kennedy was 10th; Quigley, 19th; Wilkins, 20th; Patrick Kennedy, 22nd; and Petersen, 27th.

“The success at Wake Forest was the culmination of a very successful first semester for the Kansas debate team,” said assistant debate coach Lindsey Shook.

Going into the Wake Forest tournament, the KU debate squad was ranked fourth in the country in the coaches poll behind Northwestern, Emory and Harvard. Kennedy and Quigley were the seventh-ranked individual team in the country and Kennedy and Petersen were ranked 18th.

At the Robert Kennedy Memorial Tournament at Harvard, held Oct. 30-Nov. 1, the Kennedy-Quigley and Kennedy-Petersen teams both finished in the top eight.

Campbell and Wilkins took first place in the varsity division in a tournament held Oct. 16-18 at Emporia State University. Freshmen Megan Mapes, Topeka, and Jimmy Clifford, Hutchinson, took second place in the junior varsity division. Wilkins was the top individual debater at the tournament.

“While we are incredibly excited about winning the final major tournament of the first semester for the first time since 1999, we will have to work even harder to achieve the goal of winning the final major tournament of the second semester, the National Debate Tournament,” said debate coach Scott Harris.

KU won the National Debate Tournament in 2009.

Debate squad 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, Overland Park.

From Hutchinson 67502
James Alan Clifford, freshman in history and psychology; Sheryl Clifford; Buhler 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.

From Topeka 66614
Megan Michelle Mapes, freshman in political science; Lawrence and Mary Mapes; Topeka West High School.


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