Forensics team to compete in national tournament

With its victory at the Oregon State University Forensics Tournament on Feb. 27 and yet another successful tournament at Spokane Falls Community College this past weekend, Whitworth University’s debate team is on its way to Tennessee. This week the team will participate in the National Christian College Forensics Association’s tournament. Despite its continued success, the motivation of the debate team is not exactly victory.

Freshman Jacob Wilson, who placed first in the extemporaneous division at OSU, said the team is more like a family, and said he enjoys competing on the team and spending time with his teammates who feel closer than friends.

“You sit in a van with them for eight hours,” Wilson said.  “You’re destined to get to know each other very well.”

Of the many things learned while being a part of the team, Wilson said the majority of the team consists of freshmen who have competed on a debate team since middle school years.

“But the debate style is different from high school,” Wilson said, adding that collegiate debates allow 15 minutes to prepare a debate on a given subject at the tournament.

“In high school, we were given two months,” he said.

But Wilson said the challenge is embraced, and the pride in the team’s identity is contagious.

The most prominent subject of discussion among Wilson and his teammates is on the upcoming national tournament at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Mo., coach Mike Ingram’s alma mater.

The debate style at the tournament will be much different than the style used by the Whitworth team at Northwest conferences.

“They intentionally talk fast, around 300 words a minute, use dirty tactics and de-emphasize good communication to win,” Wilson said.

Because of this, the Whitworth team will only be participating in the tournament’s speech events and avoiding the debate events.

“Our coach always challenges us, ‘If the president of the university came to watch us, would he be proud?’” Wilson said. “And that’s why we’re avoiding playing games with the debate teams at the tournament.” The team, however, remains excited for the National Christian College tournament. As it is a Christian school association event, the topics will be mostly faith-based, which Wilson said he enjoys hearing  other opinions on.

The debate team allows him to learn more on various subjects, which makes the upcoming tournament exciting, Wilson said.

Story by Rosie Brown Staff Writer

Contact Rosie Brown at