LAWRENCE — The KU Debate team of senior Jyleesa Hampton, Overland Park, and first-year student Quaram Robinson, Round Rock, Texas, has been recognized as a first-round, at-large qualifier for the National Debate Tournament, which will take place at the University of Iowa on April 3-6. A national committee selects the top-16 individual debate teams in the country based on their performance over the course of the season and recognizes them as automatic first-round qualifiers for the NDT. The rest of the 78-team field will be selected through regional qualifying tournaments over the next two weeks. It is the 48th consecutive year that KU has qualified at least one team for the National Debate Tournament.
While Hampton and Robinson are the 36th KU team to be recognized as first-round automatic qualifiers to the NDT, they are the first such team to be composed of two women and the first to be composed of two African-Americans. Robinson is only the second first-year debater at KU to be a first-round qualifier to the NDT.
“We are very proud of Jyleesa and Quaram,” said Brett Bricker, associate head coach. “They have had a remarkable season, and they are very deserving of this recognition.”
Hampton and Robinson qualified for the NDT based on their performance throughout the regular season. They took second place at a tournament hosted by the University of Southern California, second place at the University of Pittsburgh, third place at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, fifth place at the University of California at Fullerton, fifth place at the University of Missouri Kansas City, fifth place at Weber State University, and they had top-10 finishes at Wake Forest University and the University of Texas. The other schools to qualify at large teams are the University of California at Berkeley, Emory University, George Mason University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oklahoma and Wake Forest University.
It has also been a successful season for other members of the KU debate team as well. The KU debate squad as a whole ended the fall semester ranked first in the country in the National Debate Tournament Varsity National Rankings. The rankings are based on points earned by multiple KU teams competing at tournaments. KU will attempt to qualify a second team at a regional qualifying tournament at the University of Texas at Dallas Feb. 26-March 1. The team of Chris Carey, Westwood Hills, and Nick Khatri, Edina, Minnesota, will compete against teams representing schools from the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas in an effort to qualify for the NDT. Other members of the squad will be competing at the National Junior Division Debate Tournament and at the Cross Examination Debate Association championship tournament in March.