Local student on top-ranked KCKCC debate squad
It's unanimous. Kansas City Kansas Community College reigns as the No. 1 debate team among community colleges in the United States.
The winner of the Cross-Examination Debate Association Junior College Division National Championship in Louisville, Ky., in March, KCKCC completed the sweep of the two national championships by winning the recent Phi Rho Pi Junior College National Championship in Woodland Hills, Calif.
"To win this tournament in California debating mainly California schools with mainly California judges was really a great testament to the strength and domination of our team this year," said coach Darren Elliott.
En route to winning the national title, the Blue Devil team defeated defending champion and tourney favorite, Bakersfield, along with Los Angeles City College, Southwestern and Pasadena, all California community colleges; Florida's Oskaloosa-Walton, Northwest Wyoming and Johnson County Community College. At one time in the season, KCKCC trailed JCCC and Southwest-ern in national rankings.
KCKCC sewed up the championship when sophomore Austin Case, a West Des Moines Valley graduate who transferred from Emporia State, defeated Johnson County to take first place in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
"Johnson County has traditionally dominated this tournament so it was especially nice to beat them," said Elliott.
A Basehor-Linwood graduate, Dan Rundus, led the way. Selected by policy debaters in the tournament as representing the best there is in college debate, Rundus teamed with Case to win the Team Policy Debate Division and placed third in the Lincoln Douglas Policy Debate Division.
KCKCC finished one-two in Team Policy Debate as Peter Lawson of Leavenworth and Seth Paulsen of Basehor-Linwood took second in the event while Shannon Howard of Blue Valley, Lawson and Case won the Lincoln-Douglas Policy Debate Division. John Bretthauer, a Tonganoxie freshman who had a third-place finish in the National Junior Division Debate Tournament at Johnson County in March, rounded out the six-member team. A seventh member, Jeremy Williams of Salina, did not compete the second semester.
"Winning the national championship was the highlight of the year," said Rundus, a two-time Academic All-American. "It was unexpected but with the talent this team has, I realized it was possible to accomplish the impossible."
Case, on the other hand, said he expected a national title.
"Sporting an almost unblemished record, I think we were able to intimidate our competitors and through hard work and the dedication of coach Elliott, we were able to live up to everyone's expectations," he said.
"It was a great feeling; to win was amazing because all of our hard work finally paid off," said Howard, who started competing for KCKCC last fall while still a senior at Blue Valley.