Talking Saints Compete Both Nationally and Internationally

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

HELENA – Competing simultaneously in two countries, the Carroll College Talking Saints forensics team brought home awards from tournaments in both Colorado Springs and Calgary on October 20-22.

Carroll’s junior and senior teams competed at Colorado College at the Southern Colorado Debate Challenge. Juniors Tori Hill of Sidney, Montana, and Becca Poliquin of Hamilton, Montana, advanced to championship rounds. They defeated Clemson University in quarterfinals, before falling in semifinals to the United States Air Force Academy. The University of Alaska won the tournament, defeating Cal Poly and the Air Force in finals.

“We drew a topic on feminism in quarterfinals which was great,” said Poliquin, “but we got unlucky in semifinals when we drew a topic about space exploration and were competing against teams from the Air Force Academy who knew a lot about the space race. All I knew about space was from watching ‘The Martian.’ ”

One other Carroll team was on the bubble, nearly advancing: junior Freddy Gray of Idaho Falls and sophomore Frank Stumbo of Shelley, Idaho.

“This tournament drew some of the nation’s top teams from diverse locations such as California, Alaska, Mississippi and South Carolina – as well as the Rocky Mountain teams,” said coach Brent Northup. “It was the first outing for our older teams this year, and they knocked the rust off and performed well.”

On the same weekend, Carroll’s new debaters traveled north to the Fall Open hosted by the University of Calgary on the campus of Mount Royal University, also in Calgary. First years Kelsie Watkins of Snohomish, Washington, and Peri Dropping of Redmond, Washington, advanced to finals, placing third behind the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.

“After all the coaching, research and practicing, it was so encouraging to see our hard work pay off,” said Dropping.

First year Kaia Roberge of Frenchtown, Montana, and her sophomore partner Conor Coutts of Enumclaw, Washington, reached the semifinal round. Four Carroll students received recognition as top speakers at the Fall Open. Watkins tied for fifth, Dropping was eighth, and both first years Faith Scow of Helena and Roberge tied for eleventh best speaker.

“Our new debaters held their own against some fine Canadian teams, and made many friends,” said coach Brent Northup. “We even did well when we faced Canadian-specific topics such as First Nation aboriginal economic issues, which we had studied. Part of the thrill of competing internationally is confronting non-American topics and competing against Canadian teams on Canadian issues. That’s very challenging, but also exhilarating. We are a global campus and competitions like these remind us of how much we have to learn from and about other cultures.”