Talking Saints Make It 31 Straight

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

HELENA – The Carroll College Talking Saints won a share of the Northwest Forensics Conference championship on Sunday, January 24, marking the 31st consecutive year the team has won or shared the crown. This year the honor was shared with Boise State University, coached by Talking Saint alum, Manda Hicks ’97.

The final regional championship tournament was held virtually in Bellingham, Washington, at Western Washington University. The Talking Saints competed in dorm rooms, classrooms and empty spaces across the Carroll campus, laptops in hand.

Carroll also won the conference award honoring the top debate program in the region, and was the second best Division I speech program. The team won a total of 30 individual and team awards.

Leading the way was Carroll’s top debate team, senior Josh Mansfield of Pocatello, Idaho, and sophomore Hellie Badaruddin, from Missoula, Montana, who won Open Debate, completing their sweep of debate at both regional championships. In the final round they beat the University of Alaska, Northwest University and a second Carroll team, sophomores Vinny Gallardo of Butte and Roisin O’Neill of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

“The Carroll family should be very proud of these students,” said coach Brent Northup. “We scaled back our program this pandemic year. We had fewer practices and entered half as many events. Winning really wasn’t our goal. We just wanted to keep safe and make sure classes went OK. But the kids seemed to respond by turning it up a notch. It’s nice to shine some light on Carroll in what’s been a very stressful year for everybody.”

Once again Carroll debaters led the way. Six of the eight top speaker awards in debate were won by Saints. Junior Taylor Potts won third best open speaker, followed in order by senior Teigen Tremper of Whitefish, Montana, Mansfield, Gallardo, Badaruddin and junior David Lange of Ferndale, Washington. Winning junior debate speaking recognition were first year students Elissa Mazkour of Beirut, Lebanon, Josie Howlett of Bigfork, Montana, and Melissa Jagelski of Ontario, Oregon. Badaruddin added a victory in extemporaneous speaking to her two debate awards.

Team president Teigen Tremper closed out her four-year career in public speaking by winning open impromptu speaking. Tremper was a high school impromptu champion who kept winning through four college years at Carroll.

“After seven years starting as a sophomore in high school, winning at my last impromptu tournament was a perfect ending to a year where perfect endings didn’t seem to be an option,” said Tremper. “I gave a speech on how communication can bring unity in a year of divisiveness and isolation.”

The Carroll Talking Saints boasts one of its highest grade point averages ever. Nine students achieved 3.9 or better in the fall semester, and the median for the team was 3.8, with only one below 3.4.

“That academic work ethic carries over to speech and debate,” says Northup. “They’re also nice kids, who are good sports win or lose.”

First year speaker Matt Glimm of Kalispell, Montana, won third in both novice impromptu and novice extemp. Taylor was second in impromptu, and reached finals in extemporaneous speaking.

The Northwest Forensics Conference ended the awards ceremony by presenting the Brent Northup Award to the MVP of the NFC, Chauncey Koulibali of Whitworth University. The award was renamed last year in honor of Carroll’s coach, who served as conference president for 24 years.

“That almost brought me to tears to watch Chauncy receive her honor on the screen,” said Northup. “I’ve been so blessed in my years at Carroll coaching and teaching. This felt like the cheesecake after my salmon at On Broadway. I’m obviously tired of eating my own cooking at home.”

The team is now pointed towards the national debate championships hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, April 16-19.