Forensics Team places second in tournament

The Whitworth Forensics Team placed second out of 15 schools and won 22 speech awards and 11 debate awards in last tournament at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. This has been the only year the team has placed in every tournament of the season. This was their final tournament for the conference season. Freshman Addison Koneval placed fourth place in novice prose, second in novice dramatic interpretation, and fifth in oral interpretation. Koneval is not new to debate; she debated on her high school team for two years.

“It is a lot different, it is structured differently,” Koneval said.

Over this past weekend, Koneval participated in three events and was a finalist in each. She said she felt this was her best performance out of the six tournaments the Forensics team has participated in this year.

“Everyone is super prepared, there are a lot of practices and we have an excellent coach,” Koneval said.

Freshman Norann Biedas won four out of her five debates during the tournament. Biedas joined the Forensics team in January and did not have any debate experience prior to joining.

“I really thought it was important to increase communication skills, performance and understanding different topics. Also it is very intellectually stimulating”, Biedas said.

Biedas placed fifth in impromptu speaking, third in debate and first in speaking points. She said that this tournament was a lot better than her previous tournament in January. She also said that her team performed well overall.

“It was wonderful, a lot of new people won awards,” Biedas said.

Sophomore Samuel Director, who has been on the debate team for two years, took second place in persuasive, seventh place in extemporaneous speaking and was the top speaker out of 79 debaters total. He said the way everyone helped each other succeed showed the community and the cohesiveness of the team.

“This tournament really showed Whitworth’s ability to work as a team,” Director said. “Even people who didn’t advance really helped in the research and showed the team working as a cohesive unit.”

He also said that it was a tournament that really showed the community involvement. The debate team was able to bring along three judges, Alumnae Kym Davis, Rhylee Smith and Lori Welch.

“It was a clear way of showing community involvement. People were making sacrifices so the team could compete,” Director said.

The team is coached by Mike Ingram, professor of communications. The Whitworth Forensics team’s next event is at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., March 9-11.

Catherine Porter Staff Writer Contact Catherine Porter at

Forensics team starts strong

The Whitworth forensics team competed in the Lewis & Clark College tournament in Portland, OR Oct. 11-14. The team started their season by bringing home a total of 27 awards, 13 in speech events and 14 in debate. “Whitworth cleaned up,” sophomore Sam Director said. “It went really well, at a team level and at a competitive level.”

At Lewis & Clark, Whitworth was third out of 20 in speech and second of 38 in debate. This year the most common events among the team members are extemporaneous, informative and prose. Fifteen of the sixteen students are involved in argumentative debate. Several coaches of opposing teams have commented on the poise and professionalism of the team.

“We compete against schools of all sizes,” director of forensics Mike Ingram said.

When competing in debate, Whitworth is not restricted to competing against other Division III schools. Instead, Whitworth was able to defeat regional rivals that included the University of Utah, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Utah State University.

“The Whitworth liberal arts education gives a real advantage,” Ingram said.

Returning debater sophomore Jon Kim joined the team at the start of the second semester last year. Kim said being on the team takes time, but the teammates make it worth it.

“I can really appreciate the family aspect now,” Kim said.

Ingram said he hopes the forensics team will continue to represent the University well, learn how to better communicate for the short term and the future and, of course, enjoy the success of winning.

“We have five members back from last year and we have four new students, including an international student,” Ingram said.

This academic school year, Ingram said he intends for the team to compete at different tournaments in the Northwest and to attend two or three national tournaments.  The second is Oct. 18-21  at the College of Idaho in  Caldwell, Idaho. In December, Ingram hopes to put on an open house for the Whitworth community to come and observe a sampling of the forensics events. In the meantime, students who are interested in learning more about the team are welcome to contact Ingram via email.

Laryssa Lynch Staff Writer

Contact Laryssa Lynch at