Carroll forensics team dominate debate

The Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team won 36 awardsThe Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team won 36 awards, dominated World Debate and finished second overall in the Mahaffey Memorial Collegiate Forensics Tournament at Linfield College on November 13-15. Linfield is one of three tournaments that determine the regional championship.

Four Carroll debaters were chosen to represent their country in an international Skype debate against teams from Afghanistan in a special international event during the weekend. The teams debated whether Afghanistan would be better off with a secular government.

“Hearing Afghani students discuss politics, war and religion was eye-opening,” said Carroll professor and coach Brent Northup. “One Afghan team worried that moving too quickly towards secular democratic values could backfire.” Afghanistan also participates in World Debate, making the exchange comfortable for the Carroll teams.

Eighteen of the 21 Carroll team members brought home awards competing against 35 schools from eight states including squads from New York, California and Colorado. Boise State, coached by Talking Saints alumna Manda Hicks ’97, beat the Talking Saints to win first place sweepstakes recognition.

Carroll dominated debate winning both junior and open, sweeping five of the six top speaker awards. Seniors Mark Schmutzler of Helena, Montana, and Ryden Meyer of Portland, Oregon, beat Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), Lewis & Clark and a second Carroll team in finals. Schmutzler was second best speaker, followed by Meyer in third. Senior Nick Fuller of Seattle, Washington, and sophomore Jake MacDuff of Preston, Washington, also reached finals.

The freshman team of Alex Thielman of Spokane, Washington, and Frank Stumbo of Shelley, Idaho, won junior debate over PLU. Freshman Amber Griffin of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Katie McNichol of Vancouver, Washington, were also in finals. Carroll swept the top four speaker awards in junior, won by McNichol, just ahead of Griffin, Stumbo and Thielman.

The Saints were just as successful in individual events, winning 16 awards. Senior Hannah Hillier of Jerome, Idaho, won four trophies, including first place in dramatic interpretation. Griffin won six awards including extemp, impromptu and prose.

Other top three finishers included junior Morgan Aldous of Salt Lake City, Utah, sophomore Becca Poliquin of Hamilton, Montana, sophomore Luke Kendall of Stevensville, Montana, and sophomore Jake MacDuff of Preston, Washington.

“This was a reassuring weekend for us,” said Northup. “We had a nice balance of senior and freshman success. But the best moment came after we got home when a coach from Whitworth University wrote us to thank Amber and Katie for jumping off the stage to stand next to a Whitworth student who competes in a wheelchair. His chair couldn’t reach the stage during awards, so Amber, Katie and a girl from Boise State stood next to him on the floor below. That was classy.”

The Talking Saints season continues in January with the final regional championship tournament at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The team will end its year by traveling to two national championships in Georgia and Florida in the spring.