Talking Saints 2nd Out of 29 Teams

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

HELENA – Led by a first-year student, the Carroll College Talking Saints won 29 awards and placed second at the 86th annual Mahaffey Tournament at Linfield College on November 8-10. Twenty-nine colleges and universities competed in the Mahaffey, one of the oldest tournaments in America, dating back to 1931. Fifteen of Carroll’s 19 students won recognition. Boise State won the tournament.

Hellie Badaruddin, a first-year student from Loyola Sacred Heart in Missoula, had a stunning weekend, winning six total awards including four first place honors. Badaruddin was first speaker in debate. Badaruddin and partner Roisin O’Neill of Lake Oswego, Oregon, were a novice team that nevertheless reached the championship round of open debate joining another Carroll team, sophomore Taylor Potts of Great Falls and junior Teigen Tremper of Kalispell.

Badaruddin also won novice extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking and persuasive speaking.

Badaruddin’s success earned her the Brenda Marshall Award, recognizing the most outstanding first or second year student at the tournament. She’s in contention to win the Orv Iverson Award given to the top new student in the region at the close of the year.

“The stars aligned for Hellie this weekend,” said coach Brent Northup. “She has a tireless work ethic and a cheerful, what-can-I-do-next spirit. When she practices, she takes meticulous notes on criticism and by the next session, she’s implemented the suggested changes. That openness is a virtue that will open so many doors. She’s also just plain nice.”

Of the 12 debate teams advancing to championship rounds, five were from Carroll. Of the 10 top speakers, six were from Carroll. The team won both junior and novice extemporaneous speaking. Five Carroll debate teams advanced to championship rounds, with Carroll sweeping the top four speaker awards in junior debate. Badaruddin was top speaker followed by fellow first-years Rylie Weeks of Kalispell, O’Neill, and Vinny Gallardo of Butte.

Senior Michael Fuller placed second in poetry, with a program of poems dedicated to former Carroll theology professor Beth Haile, who died last week in Iowa of brain cancer.

“Beth was one of the most amazing people in the world,” said Fuller. “Her intelligence was matched only by her love and devotion to her family and God. Over the semester I have been working on a poetry piece that discusses that while it is okay to mourn, we must learn to find beauty in death and joy in life. This past weekend, I dedicated my piece to her. She would want me to celebrate her life, not mourn her loss.”

First-year students Aislinn Deavel of Sheridan, Montana; Nicole Williams of Seeley Lake, Montana; and Brady Clark of Madison, Wisconsin; and Maddy Horak of Boise, Idaho, each won two awards.

“The best moment in the weekend wasn’t an award, though,” said Northup. “A coach came up to me to say how impressed she was by the Carroll team – not because of their speeches but because they were such nice people. Looks like we fooled ’em this time.”

As always, the team gave a stuffed animal to a member who looked out for others during the stressful championship tournament. Senior Kelsie Watkins won the “Carroll Octopus.”

The first-year students were grateful that Kelsie spent her down time looking out for them.

“Kelsie was super encouraging to Maddy and I,” said first-year student Ryan Vosen of Kalispell. “She gave us senior-type advice that really helped.”

“She kept checking in on all of us,” said Deavel.

The strong showing at Linfield, the final event of the semester, positions the team well for the final regional championship tournament at Pacific University near Portland in January.

The Talking Saints have won or shared 29 consecutive regional titles, and the Linfield showing put the team in strong contention for number 30.