Talking Saints' Newbies Catch Fire

Thursday, October 28, 2021

HELENA – The newest generation of the Carroll College Talking Saints announced their arrival by winning 16 of the team’s 23 awards at two tournaments held virtually in Portland, Oregon, and Calgary, Alberta. The first-year Saints also added two more awards at the Teaching Tournament last month.

“The new members have worked hard and are starting to gain traction,” said coach Brent Northup. “Many of them had no high school experience, and were starting from zero. Their success is so gratifying for them and for all of us.”

Madi McDonald of Missoula and June LePage of Lewistown, Montana, reached semi-finals of debate at the Calgary Fall Open, and both won speaker awards. Katie Payne of Helena, also finished in the top 10 speakers at Calgary.

At Lewis & Clark, Carroll started warming up its speech and drama events. Again, the first-year students enjoyed success. All eight of the new team members who entered won recognition, joining six upper division students on the virtual “podium.” Even without entering debate, Carroll won fourth place in school sweepstakes, powered by the first-year students.

Leading the way in the early tournaments were McDonald and LePage, who both won four awards; Emma Peterson who won three; and Payne, Michael Needham of Billings, and Kohl Bonser of Richland, Washington, who each won two awards. Angelica Sutton of Wolf Point, and Vicente Ortega of Ronan, Montana, each won recognition.

Among the veterans, sophomore Matt Glimm of Kalispell won two awards. Other upperclass winners included Brady Clark of Madison, Wisconsin, Roisin O’Neill of Lake Oswego, Oregon, Rylie Weeks of Kalispell, Melissa Jagelski of Ontario, Oregon, and Mariah Hurd of Seattle.

The new members are upbeat after two months on the team.

“Being on the team has given me an instant family here at Carroll,” McDonald said. “Being able to compete and succeed with my teammates and celebrate with them is unmatched with any other experience.”

Payne was nervous, since she was homeschooled and had no previous speech or debate experience.

“Not coming from a debate background and with no real previous experience in these avenues made me wonder whether or not I was making the right decision by getting involved with debate,” Payne said. “However, the growth I've been rewarded with as a speaker and the family I’ve gained as a teammate have been priceless. I look forward to my continued trek up the learning curve.”

All of them are thankful for their mentors, their elders.

“I've been finding myself surrounded by intelligent, articulate, and passionate individuals who are always willing to help the terrified freshmen,” said LePage.

Next up for the new Talking Saints is the President’s Cup novice championship, held virtually in London, England. Four first-year teams will compete against teams from throughout the world including Israeli School of Technology, London School of Economics, and Ramaiah Institute of Technology from Bengaluru, India.