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Release: Immediate

UI debate team heads to National Debate Tournament March 26-30

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Six University of Iowa students will join the country's top collegiate debate teams in Salt Lake City March 26-30 to compete in the 52nd annual National Debate Tournament.

Of the more than 700 two-person teams from colleges and universities nationwide that compete all year, only 72 qualify for the national tournament. Two UI teams qualified and one UI team was selected as an alternate.

The UI team of Andy Peterson, a sophomore global studies major from Ottumwa, and Corey Rayburn, a senior political science and philosophy major from Alexandria, Va., is ranked among the top 16 teams in the nation and therefore automatically qualified for the tournament. The specific national rankings are not announced before the teams arrive at the tournament site, but last year, Peterson and Rayburn were ranked third going into the national tournament. Also at last year's tournament, Rayburn was named Top Speaker in the nation.

The UI team of Jill Podgorski, a junior accounting major from Elk Grove Village, Ill., and Karen Scott, a senior political science major from Oak Park, Ill., placed first in their district tournament Feb. 28 in Minneapolis to qualify for the national tournament. This was the second year in a row the team won the district championship. The UI's alternate team, Erik Christensen, a freshman from Omaha, Neb., and Michael Jensen, a senior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., will compete if one of the other teams is unable to.

The topic for debate at that national tournament is Security Assistance to Southeast Asia. The teams will be expected to argue both for and against various assistance strategies during the rounds of debate.