Talking Saints Make it Year 23 for Northwest Championship Title

Carroll’s Talking Saints are atop the Northwest Forensics Conference again after the team swept to victory at the regional championship tournament held at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., on Jan. 25-27, 2013.

The win earned the Saints a share of the Northwest Forensics Regional Championship, the 23rd consecutive year the Saints have won or shared the title. Of the more than 50 regional tournaments held in the past 23 years, the Saints have won all but two of them.

The Saints were named a Gold Medal program, the conference’s highest honor. Boise State University and Whitman College were also named Gold Medal Programs for year-long achievement.

The Talking Saints placed first in sweepstakes at Western among 21 colleges from six states, finishing 50 points ahead of the field. The Saints won more than 40 awards, including 11 first place awards. Fourteen of the team’s 17 students brought home awards with freshmen winning more than 20 of Carroll’s awards.

“More than half our team are freshmen this year,” said coach Brent Northup, “so seeing them lead the team to victory was wonderful. At Linfield the newcomers were still green, but at Western they gained traction. Many of the seniors had coached the frosh, and the mentors seemed more thrilled by the frosh success than by their own victories.”

Ryden Meyer, a freshman from Portland, was named outstanding first-year competitor, and Chris Axtman, a senior from Portland, was named the third best senior competitor in the region for the year.

Meyer won five awards, including first in novice extemp, first in novice impromptu, first in novice prose, second in World Debate and third speaker in World Debate.

Axtman won four awards including first in extemp, second in impromptu, third in World Debate and second speaker in World Debate.

Megan Towles, a senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., won five awards as well.

Senior Jon Men, a senior from Garden Grove, Calif., won two first place awards in after-dinner speaking and International Public debate. Men also was also third in dramatic interpretation. Freshman Maggie Parobek of Yakima, Wash., won first place in novice poetry while Courville won first in junior program interpretation.

The Carroll team continued its success in its first year competing in World Debate, sweeping the top three speaker awards in World Debate with Axtman placing first, Towles placing second and Meyer placing third. Two of the four teams in finals were from Carroll, placing second and third behind a hybrid team from Seattle University and Northwest University.

Freshmen Nick Fuller of Seattle and Jessica Courville of Idaho Falls won first place in junior World Debate.

The Carroll team dominated the short preparation events, winning 15 awards in impromptu speaking and extemporaneous speaking. Axtman and Towles took the top two places in open extemp, while Meyer and freshman Mark Schmutzler of Helena swept the top two places in novice extemp.

The team now begins preparation for the national championships in Individual Events and in World Debate, both held in April in Kansas and Los Angeles.