Friday, March 30, 2012

KCKCC debate team only sixth team since 1941 chosen for National Debate Tournament


Just when it looks like Kansas City Kansas Community College debate can’t reach any higher peaks, Coach Darren Elliott’s team makes more history.

“For the first time in the history of KCKCC, we have earned a bid to the AFA National Debate Tournament (NDT), the oldest national debate tournament in the country and the debate equivalent to the NCAA basketball tournament,” said Elliott, whose team already has a record eight straight national Phi Rho Pi championships.

“Only five other community college teams since 1941 have qualified for the NDT so we are now the sixth. To qualify is an amazing accomplishment as the NDT is an elite tournament dominated by the top juniors and seniors from the nation’s best universities.”

The KCKCC team of Thomas Garvey and Ryan McFarland were advised of their invitation at ‘Selection Monday.’

“Only the top 78 teams in the nation are invited and the last 16 spots, known as second-round bids, were announced on Monday,” said Elliott. The national tournament will be held this weekend in Duluth, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.

KCKCC joins an impressive group of universities who were also among the final 16 selected including Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Wake Forest, West Georgia, Arizona State, Baylor, Harvard, Northwestern, Texas, Missouri State and Trinity.

The selection of the duo of McFarland and Garvey comes on the heels of the Blue Devils winning a seventh CEDA (Cross Examination Debate Association) Community College national championship held last weekend at the University of Oklahoma.

The CEDA national championship is based on season-long success and KCKCC nearly doubled the point totals of runnerup Los Rios College and third place Johnson County.

Both McFarland and Garvey were named CEDA All-Americans.

“Only 30 debaters in the entire country are chosen for this honor and to have two from KCKCC named All-Americans is a great accomplishment,” said Elliott.

Three KCKCC teams reached the elimination rounds of the national CEDA tournament, the varsity duos of McFarland and Garvey and freshman combo of Josh Miller and Evan Johnson and the novice team of Marin Loken and Justin Parks. A field of 157 teams were in the varsity field, which was then trimmed to 54 teams.

Garvey and McFarland were eliminated in the first round in a narrow 2-1 decision to Missouri State while Miller and Johnson lost in the first round to last year’s returning champions from Kansas State.

Miller and Johnson compiled a 5-3 record in the preliminaries highlighted by a win over No. 5 ranked Kansas, one of only two losses for the Jayhawks in the tournament. Loken and Parks were eliminated in the Novice quarterfinals by Florida.

The Blue Devils will wrap up the 2011-12 season April 9-14 when they’ll go after a record ninth straight national Phi Rho Pi championship in the national tourney hosted by Moraine Valley Community College in Schaumburg, Ill., 35 miles outside of Chicago.