Mikayla Davis | Staff Writer
Whitworth’s forensics team, The Arguing Bucs, competed at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA over the weekend of Jan. 26-27. Whitworth was one of 12 schools competing in speech, and one of 25 schools competing in the combined speech and debate.
“This was the fourth tournament that we’ve been to,” said Ingram, referring to the 2018-2019 school year. Of those four, this tournament was the third in a series of competitions designated as part of the Northwest Forensics Conference. The Arguing Bucs, competing within division two of the conference, took home a gold medal as this year's top school within their division. Ingram confirmed that this year marks the seventh year in a row in which Whitworth has earned such a distinction.
“Each student does about 3 speeches, so each of those speeches, if they do well, has the capacity to earn points,” Ingram said. The summation of the students’ points decide what tournaments and awards the team qualifies for.
“It’s always really cool,” said team member and senior Sara Muscente. “We get the year-long awards and we get to see how well we’ve done throughout the year.”
Several students, including many of the team’s freshman members, walked away from the recent tournament with various awards.
“Our freshmen did very well,” Muscente said. “One of our freshmen beat me in one of my speech events, which was super cool just to watch her!”
One of these competing first-year students was Chauncey Koulibali.
“Koulibali led the way by winning awards in all four of her individual speaking events, a debate speaking award and a debating award,” Ingram wrote in an email announcing the team’s recent successes
“I had never done so many speeches in one tournament,” Koulibali said. “I was definitely nervous, but it felt really good in the end getting all the medals.”
Muscente found success at the tournament as well, as she and her partner junior Tucker Wilson won first place within their duo team speech event. This tournament marked the third year in a row in which the two have competed as a pair.
When discussing what goals Wilson and Muscente have for the upcoming tournaments, Wilson talked about the pair’s proximity to winning in past years and their hope to finally take first place at nationals.
“I think it would be neat to win duo at nationals,” Wilson said, in reference to the National Christian College Forensics Association’s national tournament held later in the spring.
Muscente, who is in her fourth year on the team, shared her own goal, saying, “I want to win a tournament before I graduate.”
Koulibali said her goal was to advance to either the quarterfinals (final eight) or octofinals (final 16) by the end of the year.
The Arguing Bucs were also joined over the weekend by alumni of Whitworth’s forensics team.
“It’s really wonderful to have this network of alums who, as their schedule permits, can come to tournaments,” Ingram said. “They serve as guest judges, so it’s a great way for current students to meet those who’ve come before.”
“We have meals together, giant family dinners,” Muscente said in regard to the team’s interaction with alumni. “We go out to restaurants and overwhelm their servers!”
“I really love the intergenerational connection to people who are sons and daughters of Whitworth,” Ingram said.
The Arguing Bucs have four more tournaments to compete at this year, including one next weekend, February 16-17, at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR.
Ingram invites those students who are interested in joining the forensics team to seek him out and asks that students stay tuned for the team’s annual debate against the Irish National Champions, which will take place on Whitworth’s campus on Tuesday, April 2.