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Sources: Justin Green, 785-532-6863,;
and Elizabeth Mendenhall,
Note to editors: Jonathan Klementowski and Kevin Walbridge are graduates of Olathe East High School, and Elizabeth Mendenhall is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park.
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The Kansas State University debate team is currently ranked ninth nationally based on a poll of debate coaches from across the country.

The team has competed in eight tournaments so far this semester with multiple top-10 finishes and high rankings of student pairings in many of them.

The K-State team's topic of debate this year is the reduction of the role or numbers of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The 23 team members must be prepared to debate on either side of the issue and spend 10 to 30 hours a week preparing for tournaments.

"I feel very lucky that we have a group of students who are hard working and easy to work with, and that we have such strong institutional support," said Justin Green, K-State debate coach and instructor of communication studies, theater and dance.

In addition to Green, Cade Hamilton and Sarah Snider, both instructors of communication studies, theater and dance, serve as assistant directors of the team. Graduate student coaches include Joseph Koehle, master's student in communication studies, and Natalie Pennington, master's student in communication studies. Hamilton and Pennington were recognized as the assistant coach and assistant graduate coach of the year, respectively, at the Kansas City Kansas Community College tournament earlier this semester.

Among K-State's debate team members, the pairing of Elizabeth Mendenhall, senior in philosophy and political science, Olathe, and Derek Ziegler, sophomore in philosophy and political science, Topeka, is currently ranked 21st in the nation. Their multiple top-10 finishes including placing ninth out of 145 teams at the University of Kentucky tournament. According to Green, this is the best that a K-State pairing has ever done at a national-caliber tournament in the varsity division.

Other members of the K-State debate team and tournament placings, if earned, include:

Heather Woods, senior in political science, Douglass, third at the Northern Iowa University tournament with her partner Megan Hallinan; John Walter, sophomore in pre-professional secondary education, Garden City.

From Greater Kansas City: Trey Bryant, freshman in communication studies, Gardner; Margaret Weller, freshman in communication studies, Leawood; Jonathan Klementowski, freshman in computer science, Olathe, second with partner Jacob Benson in the junior varsity division at the Missouri State University tournament; and Steven Seib, freshman in political science, and Kevin Walbridge, freshman in communication studies, both from Overland Park.

Megan Hallinan, junior in English, Lansing, third with her partner Heather Woods at the Northern Iowa University tournament.

From Manhattan: Rafi Ahmadullah, senior in mechanical engineering; Nicholas Birdsong, senior in political science and philosophy, semifinalist with partner Caleb Edwards at the Northern Iowa University tournament; Chalmer Calhoun, junior in speech; Caleb Edwards, freshman in pre-professional business administration, semifinalist with partner Nicholas Birdsong at Northern Iowa University tournament; Brett Farmer, senior in philosophy, women's studies and American ethnic studies; Jalisa Jackson, freshman in pre-professional secondary education, first with partner Adriannia Anderson in the novice division at the Northern Iowa University tournament; and Manroj Sangha, sophomore in pre-professional architectural engineering.

Jacob Benson, freshman in industrial engineering, McPherson, second with partner Jonathan Klementowski in the junior varsity division at the Missouri State University tournament; Ashley Denney, junior in English, Newton; Caitlin Reynolds, junior in anthropology and history, Topeka; and Gloria Funcheon, junior in history, and Preston Peer, freshman in political science, both from Wichita.

From out of state: Adriannia Anderson, freshman in arts and sciences-open option, Davenport, Iowa, first with partner Jalisa Jackson in the novice division at the Northern Iowa University tournament; and Molly McGuire, sophomore in political science and speech, Milwaukee, Wis.