Carroll College Talking Saints excel at world debate

The Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team swept to victory in one tournament and reached the semifinals of another to open the 2014-2015 forensics season.

At the Rocky Mountain College Tournament in Billings on September 12-14, Carroll first-year students swept three of the top four places in World Debate.

The freshman team of Ryan Kotek of Boise, Idaho and Jake MacDuff of Seattle, Washington won the Rocky event. Freshmen Ashlee Buller of Kalispell, Montana and Becca Poliquin of Hamilton, Montana also reached the championship round as did Tori Hill of Sidney, Montana and Luke Kendall of Stevensville, Montana.

Carroll speakers won six of the top 12 speaker awards, with MacDuff second, Kotek fourth, Poliquin seventh, Kendall ninth, Hill 11th and Buller 12th.

At the United States Air Force Academy World Debate Tournament in Colorado Springs, September 27-28, the Carroll team of junior Ryden Meyer of Portland, Oregon and Mark Schmutzler of Helena, Montana, reached the semifinal round, narrowly missing finals. They were fifth among 56 of the nation’s top World Debate teams.

All six Carroll debaters were ranked in the top 30 speakers among 112 students at the event, with Meyer finishing 14th and Schmutzler 18th. The freshman team of Buller and Kotek finished one point shy of the quarterfinal round. Junior Nick Fuller of Seattle and MacDuff won their opening rounds before losing to top teams in later rounds.

Both Meyer and Schmutzler have won awards at the national championships in World Debate the past two years.

“Both these tournaments were very encouraging,” said Talking Saints coach and Carroll professor Brent Northup. “The talented newcomers dominated at Rocky in a field that included senior teams from other colleges. Ryden and Mark knocked the rust off impressively in Colorado against some fine teams from Vermont, Los Angeles and Alaska. Color us hopeful as the year starts.”