Talking Saints Capture Share of 29th Straight Regional Championship

Carroll Talking Saints Championship Team, January 2019
Monday, February 4, 2019

HELENA – The Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team won more than 40 awards and swept to a decisive sweepstakes victory over more than 20 colleges from five states at the Western Washington Viking Invitational, January 25-27, in Bellingham, Wash. With the win, Carroll captured a share of the regional championship, the 29th straight year the Talking Saints have won or shared the crown, a string dating back to 1991. At Western, Carroll finished with 201 points, to 141 for runner-up Lewis & Clark College.

Leading the way were the first-year team members who won 20 awards, led by Eleanor Ferrone of Hastings, Neb., who won the Orv Iverson Eagle given to the most outstanding new competitor in the Northwest region. Ferrone won five awards, including first place in novice impromptu.

The first-years won five of the six speaker awards in junior debate and swept the top four places in novice impromptu and three of the top four in novice extemp. First-year David Lange of Ferndale, Wash., Ferrone’s debate partner, was recognized as top junior speaker.

Other first-year winners were Taylor Potts of Great Falls, who won four awards including first place in novice extemp; Kristian Bartel of Federal Way, Wash., won three awards, including second in debate with partner Ollie Robson, a sophomore from Billings; and Tom Trangmoe of Stevensville, Mont., who won four awards across three different genres – debate, impromptu and prose.

“The success of our newest team members was celebrated by everyone,” coach Brent Northup said. “Most of them did not have much high school experience in the events they won, which means they’ve gone from clueless to dangerous in one semester. They worked hard and welcomed criticism.”

The upperclass also shined, led by senior Frank Stumbo of Shelley, Idaho, and his partner Josh Mansfield of Pocatello, Idaho. They combined for nine awards. Stumbo won impromptu, Mansfield was second in extemp and won top speaker in debate, just ahead of Stumbo, who was second. Michael Fuller, a junior from Helena, won four awards, including a first in dramatic interpretation. Parker Gunderson, a sophomore from Billings, placed in both extemp and impromptu.

The biggest cheer of the night came when sophomore Teigen Tremper of Whitefish, won junior impromptu, receiving first place on every ballot in the tournament.

“Teigen is regarded as the team mom,” said Northup. “She’s always encouraging her teammates, and spends her down-time knitting and calming those around her. When she won, everybody jumped to their feet to cheer for someone who’s always looking out for others.”

Sixteen of the 20 team members won awards in one of the strongest showings in recent years.

The excitement of the tournament turned to worry at the end when a team member was airlifted from Bellingham to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Monday morning for emergency surgery for swelling in his brain.

Conor Coutts, a senior from Enumclaw, Wash., is chattering again and recovering well. Doctors said on Wednesday, January 30, that Conor would be heading back to Carroll College Helena “likely in the next five days.”

Conor is in good spirits and ready to return to his friends.

“This has been an inimitable experience, a roller coaster,” said Coutts. “I’m grateful for Brent for being at my side and walking with me on this journey. I’m grateful for my team members, friends and family for their prayers. I’m grateful for the amazing medical team at Harborview. Because of all this wonderful support, I’m on the mend.”