Talking Saints Participate in “Make-up Nationals”

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

HELENA – While Carroll College’s first-year students on the Talking Saints forensics team, were at virtual novice events, the upperclass teams headed virtually up to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, on October 3-4, for what organizers called “make-up Nationals,” a huge event designed to soften the canceling of nationals last spring. More than 220 teams entered, although last year’s graduating seniors could not attend, of course.

Talking Saint senior Josh Mansfield of Pocatello, Idaho, and his partner sophomore Hellie Badaruddin of Missoula, finished tied for the 32nd and final spot to advance to the championship octa-final rounds, but narrowly lost out on speaker points.

“That was a fine showing in a deep field that had the best teams in the country present – Harvard, Stanford, John Hopkins, Berkeley, Amherst, Princeton and the rest,” said coach Brent Northup. “Josh and Hellie are just getting in synch, and improving every week. When virtual spring Nationals comes around in April, they will be primed and eager and very ready, I’m sure.”

Mansfield says the judges pointed the way up.

“We’ve got to be more aggressive when we’re debating in the bottom half in the round,” said Mansfield. “It’s crucial to do more direct comparison of our contribution to the early speeches and weigh our impacts against theirs. All the judges said that’s where we lost close decisions.”

Carroll assistant coach Becca Poliquin ‘18 was chosen as one of the elite final round judges, a significant honor.

The tournament was virtual, as are all debate tournaments this COVID season.

Four Carroll teams competed at the New York tournament, and all did well, but did not advance. Joining Badaruddin and Mansfield, were sophomores Roisin O’Neill of Lake Oswego, Oregon, and her partner Vinny Gallardo of Butte; juniors Eleanor Ferrone of Hastings, Nebraska, and her partner David Lange of Ferndale, Washington; senior Teigen Tremper of Whitefish, Montana, and her partner junior Taylor Potts of Great Falls.

“The Talking Saints had 16 debaters in rooms around campus on October 3-4, competing in New York and Calgary,” said Northup. “That’s just surreal, really. The teammates gathered together to have donuts outside together at 8:30 am and then disappeared into separate classrooms. Sort of like groundhogs sticking their heads out into sunlight for a few minutes, then scurrying back in their holes. They might not like being called groundhogs, but somehow it fits a virtual COVID season. We’d all like to stay in the sunlight more and meet real people.”