Tonganoxie graduate member of top-ranked debate squad
Kansas City Kansas Community College's reigning national debate champions are right back at it.
Not only is KCKCC No. 1 in both the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and cross-examination rankings for all community colleges, coach Darren Elliott's debaters are No. 20 among all two- and four-year colleges and universities in the country.
"To be ranked in the Top 20 nationally with all four-year schools is amazing and obviously very exciting," says Elliott. "The next closest community college is ranked 58th. Last year, when we won the national championship in both the NDT and cross-examination tournaments, we were 65th among all two and four-year schools."
KCKCC is also third in its conference, which is made up of 13 four-year universities and two community colleges -- KCKCC and Johnson County. In the conference, KCKCC trails only Kansas University and Southwest Missouri and leads the University of Oklahoma, Wichita State, Emporia State, Fort Hays, Kansas State, UMKC, Central Oklahoma, Baylor, Missouri and Texas-San Antonio.
In the community college rankings, KCKCC leads such perennial California community college powers Los Angeles City College, Bakersfield, Southwestern and Orange County along with Northwest, Oskaloosa Walton and Los Rios.
All of KCKCC's competition in the fall came in tournaments against four-year schools where they've earned berths in the elimination rounds in every one -- with no signs of a letdown in 2005.
The only community college in the recent tournament at Augustana College in Illinois, KCKCC teams finished one and two.
Peter Lawson of Leavenworth and John Bretthauer of Tonganoxie swept through the tournament without losing a single ballot as they defeated teams from Northern Iowa, UMKC, Loyola of Chicago, Augustana, Wayne State and Northern Illinois in the preliminaries and then defeated UMKC again in the semifinals.
Clay Crockett of Emporia and Garrett Tuck of Oak Park (Mo.) were the other finalists, gaining revenge for a preliminary loss to Loyola with a 3-0 win in the semifinals after preliminary wins over UMKC, Case Western, Northern Illinois and Maccalester.
All four KCKCC debaters also finished among the Top 10 speakers with Lawson first, Tuck sixth, Bretthauer seventh and Crockett 10th.
Again the only community college team in Baylor University Tournament in Waco, Tex., Feb. 21-24, KCKCC debaters scored wins over teams from the University of Oklahoma, Kansas State, North Texas, UMKC, SW Missouri State and Texas-San Antonio.
Crockett and Tuck led the way, finishing 7-1 in the preliminaries and then defeating OU and San Antonio before losing to another OU team in the finals. Tuck earned first place overall speaker honors with Crockett 10th. Bretthauer and Lawson were 6-2 in prelims before losing in the quarterfinals to San Antonio while Laura Koslowsky of Blue Valley High School finished sixth in individual speaking.
Other members of the team earning the No. 1 ranking are Seth Paulsen, Kyle Bragdon and Ashley-Michelle Papon of Blue Valley High School.
Fall semester highlights included the Crockett-Tuck and Lawson-Bretthauer duos tying for third in the UCO Tournament and fourth in the SMS Tournament while Crockett and Lawson took fourth in the KCKCC Tournament and Tuck and Bretthauer fourth in the Northern Iowa and fifth in the KCKCC tourneys.