Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2011

K-State team wins national debate championship

March 24, 2011

When it comes to debate, there's no argument that Kansas State University's Beth Mendenhall and Derek Ziegler are the best -- and they've got the title to prove it.

Mendenhall and Ziegler won the national championship at the 2011 Cross-Examination Debate Association's national tournament, March 18-22, at Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, N.Y. The pair defeated a team from Towson University to claim K-State's third national debate championship since 1991. The competition featured 139 teams from 50 schools.

Mendenhall is a senior in political science and philosophy from Olathe, and Ziegler is a junior in political science and philosophy from Topeka.

Mendenhall also was named the Debater of the Year at the tournament for her competitive accomplishments and for instilling a sense of community. "This award is the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football," said Justin Green, K-State debate coach and instructor of communication studies.

"Winning the national championship is something we thought about and prepared and practiced hard for, but it still comes as an absolute surprise," Green said. "What makes this one so special is that it comes 20 years to the day K-State won its first national championship at this same tournament in 1991."

K-State also claimed the national championship at the 1993 tournament.

A second K-State team finished in the top 20 at the competition: Megan Hallinan, senior in English and philosophy, Lansing, and Caitlyn Reynolds, senior in history, Manhattan, finished 17th overall.

K-State debate team members also picked up several other honors at the tournament, including:

  • Mendenhall and Heather Woods, senior in political science and women's studies, Douglass, were named All-Americans. A committee selects recipients of this honor, which is based on having a great degree of competitive success in debate.

  • Four K-Staters were named first team Academic All-Americans, including Mendenhall, Woods, Reynolds and Ashley Denney, senior in English, Newton. Gloria Funcheon, senior in history, Wichita, was named a second team Academic All-American. The honor is for debaters with at least a 3.5 grade point average and who have had competitive success.

Next up for the K-State debate team is the American Forensic Association's National Debate Tournament, March 24-28, at the University of Texas at Dallas.

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