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Release: April 27, 2000

UI debaters win national award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kristin Langwell and Andy Ryan, members of the University of Iowa's A. Craig Baird Debate Forum, have been awarded the Copeland Trophy in recognition of the team's top national ranking based on its successful season record.

Langwell, a senior from Lincolnwood, Ill. and Ryan, a junior from Shreveport, La. won 89 percent of the 100 debates during the season, earning them the No. 1 ranking. The award is given to the top-ranked team going into the National Debate Tournament held March 24-27 in Kansas City, Mo. Teams from 78 colleges and universities competed in the tournament.

Paul Bellus, coordinator of forensics at the UI, compared the Copeland Award to winning the NCAA coaches' poll. The district representatives and executive council of the National Debate Tournament members voted for whom they believe is the best team in the nation after the regular season, Bellus said.

Over 25 teams from across the country applied for the Copeland award. It was the first time UI debaters have won the award, which represents the success of the team, Bellus said.

"No one team wins the Copeland without a great supporting cast," he said, explaining that each topic requires a great deal of research. "Andy and Kristin have averaged over 30 hours a week working on debate throughout the year. Yet, they were never in the squad room by themselves. The other members of the team coalesced around the unifying goal of winning the Copeland."

"The Copeland was what we were working so hard for the entire year. We're very happy to have won it and very excited to share it with our teammates, our coaches, and the university," Ryan added. He is the son of John and Joy Ryan of Shreveport, La.

Though the team was ranked No. 1 going into the tournament, it did not advance to the tournament finals. In a 3-2 decision, Dartmouth College upset the UI team in the elimination round, debating on the topic of sanctions on Iraq. The UI team had not lost to Dartmouth all year.

Langwell echoed what Adrianne Brovero, her former coach at Wake Forest University, told her after the tournament "Adrianne said the Copeland is for achievement over the year; the National Debate Tournament is just any given Monday."

The UI was the only team to have both members receive individual recognition among the Top Ten Debaters at the tournament, Bellus said. Ryan was ranked sixth and Langwell was ranked fifth among the 200 participants at the tournament.