HELENA – The Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team won 39 awards on the way to finishing third at the Mahaffey Tournament at Linfield College, November 18-20. Carroll finished behind Boise State University and Lewis & Clark College, among the 30 universities from seven states who competed.
Kennedy Bahm, a first-year from Missoula, won five awards to lead the Saints. Bahm was named the top speaker in junior World Debate. Five other Carroll students swept the next five speaker awards in junior World Debate, and seven of the top 10.
Bahm and first-year partner Sofia Minudri, the second best speaker, finished second in debate, right ahead of first-years Kelsie Watkins of Snohomish, Washington, and Peri Dropping of Redmond, Washington. Bahm also won first place in both novice extemp and novice impromptu.
Junior debaters Tori Hill of Sidney, Montana, and Becca Poliquin of Hamilton, Montana, reached semis in the open division. Poliquin won recognition as second best speaker, with Hill finishing fourth. Juniors Ryan Kotek of Boise and Jake MacDuff of Seattle also finished among the top 10 speakers of Open World Debate.
Overall, the Saints won 21 awards in debate, and 11 more in extemporaneous speaking and impromptu.
Eight team members won three or more awards. Bahm won five, with Watkins and Poliquin winning four. First-year Michael Fuller continued his strong fall by reaching finals in program oral interpretation. Fuller also received awards in junior impromptu and an experimental acting event. Also winning three awards were sophomore Conor Coutts of Enumclaw, Washington, ffirst-year Kaia Roberge of Frenchtown, Montana, as well as Minudri, Watkins and Dropping.
"It was really nice to see success at all levels,” said coach Brent Northup. “We miss not having seniors this year, but the sophomores and juniors had a solid tournament, and the newcomers continue to shine. This year’s team is working very hard and we coaches have to dig deep to keep up with them."
Two members of the team who both live in Seattle, drove to Vancouver, British Columbia, over Thanksgiving break to participate in the Western Canadian championships in World Debate. First-years Dropping and Watkins held their own against Canada’s finest, but did not advance to the championship rounds.
"They really wanted to give up part of vacation to test their skills against fine Canadian teams,” said Northup. "That’s the nature of the team this year – kind of an Oliver Twist spirit, always asking 'please, sir can we have some more..' It’s very gratifying when the team shows up at your door wanting extra practice. I’m sometimes tempted to hide when I hear them coming, just to get a little down time."
The next tournament will be at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, on January 27-29. Following that regional championship event, the team will move into preparation for nationals in April in Denver.