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Two KU Debate team members qualify for National Debate Tournament


Melanie Campbell, senior, and Amanda Gress, sophomore, have qualified to compete at the National Debate Tournament in Ogden, Utah, March 28 to April 2. This is the 46th consecutive year that the University of Kansas will be represented at the tournament.

Campbell and Gress won five of six debates at the Midwest region qualifying tournament held Feb. 22-24. This is the second year they have qualified for the national tournament. At last year’s tournament, they were the only team of two women to compete.

“I very rarely see teams of two women just because there are not many females involved in debate,” Campbell said. “It feels good to be representative.”

Scott Harris, coach of the KU Debate team, is proud of Kansas’ long tradition in the National Debate Tournament and the accomplishments that Campbell and Gress have made.

“They are a strong symbol of what strong, articulate women can accomplish,” Harris said.

The National Debate Tournament hosts 78 competing teams. This year’s topic discusses federal government strategies for increasing domestic energy production of coal, natural gas, nuclear, oil, solar or wind.

Members of the KU Debate team spend 20-40 hours each week to research and prepare arguments for tournaments. Tournaments usually span three days with members participating in 6-12 debates that last approximately two hours.

“I like the challenge of competing in tournaments and preparing arguments,” Gress said. “It’s a big time commitment, but I like the challenge of keeping up with the success of KU Debate.”

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