LAWRENCE — For the 49th consecutive year, the University of Kansas has qualified to compete at the National Debate Tournament.
Two KU teams took spots in the 78-team NDT field through a regional qualifying tournament hosted at the University of Central Oklahoma. The Midwest regional included schools from the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.
The National Debate Tournament will take place March 30-April 3 at Binghamton University-The State University of New York. KU has won the National Debate Tournament five times and advanced to the Final Four 14 times.
The KU duo of freshman Sion Bell, Laurel, Maryland; and sophomore Quaram Robinson, Round Rock, Texas, went 8-0 to win the regional qualifying tournament. They defeated the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma, Trinity University, North Texas University, Emporia University, Missouri State University and two teams from Baylor University.
Robinson was the first-place individual speaker at the tournament, and Sion was third.
“Quaram and Sion’s performance was a testament to their hard work and reflects the outstanding way they have debated all season,” said Brett Bricker, assistant director of debate.
The KU team of junior Chris Birzer, Overland Park, and junior Mac Cook, Shawnee, won five debates, allowing them to qualify for the NDT as well.
The other schools that qualified from the Midwest region are Baylor, Kansas State University, North Texas University, Trinity University, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas and the University of Texas-Dallas.
KU hopes to qualify a third team for the 78-team field through an at-large selection process. The NDT allows up to six schools to qualify a third team for the tournament.
“We are confident that the team of Amit Bhatla (Lenexa) and Christopher Carey (Westwood Hills) will receive an at large invitation to the NDT, rewarding them for an excellent season as one of the top-third teams in the country,” said Scott Harris, David B. Pittaway Director of Debate.