Forensics team dominates at National Tournaments

The Whitworth Forensics Team placed first at the National Christian College Forensics Association National Tournament at Colorado Christian University March 20-22. The following week, they concluded their season by placing second at the International Public Debate Association National Tournament at Boise State University held March 27-29. Multiple Whitworth students were awarded at each of the tournaments for their performance at the individual tournaments as well as their performance for the entire year.

Senior Sam Director, who has been with the team since it was resurrected in 2011, was named as the top competitor at the Christian nationals as well as awarded National Runner-Up in the tournament at Boise State.

“It was a really good way to end my debate career and I would not have changed anything about how it turned out. As far as my own personal performance, I felt very satisfied,” Director said.

Mike Ingram, the coach of the Forensics Team, expressed his own thoughts about Director’s performance over the last four years.

“Sam has been the heart of the team and has put in more hours than anyone,” Ingram said. “He works hard on his own speeches and debate preparation, but has also helped teammates in practice settings, both formally and informally. In many ways, it has been like having another coach on the team because Sam has performed well and is a sharp student who understands the nuances of speech and sees the strategies in argument.”

Out of the 19 team members, Director was not the only one to be recognized for his achievements.

Sophomore Liz Jacobs, a two-year veteran of the team, was ranked seventh among hundreds of other students for a season long speaker award. It was based on the number of victories and win percentages she had accumulated over the entire season, she said.

Although many members of the Forensics Team were recognized individually, Director and Jacobs shared the sentiment that the success at each of the tournaments was a team effort.

“I think we have a lot of depth on our team,” Director said. “There are some schools that are phenomenal in one thing, but we are great at everything. That depth makes it so that we can win over a broad category of events. It’s a team effort; we always help each other.”

“We are all good friends, both on the team and off the team, and there is a lot of camaraderie. We can count on each other, and that for me is more rewarding than winning,” Jacobs said.

The Forensics Team entered the National Christian College Forensics Association National Tournament as three-peat victors. This year, the team has done better in the year-long standings than previous years.

“This has been the best season of my professional career. We have won eight out of ten tournaments. This season has been a testament to the great skill of our students. They work extremely hard and effectively as a team,” Ingram said.


Lee Morgan

Staff Writer

Contact Lee Morgan at

Forensics team wins four consecutive tournaments

Whitworth’s forensics team has had an incredible season so far in the 2014-2015 school year. The team has won four consecutive tournaments in a row, including taking first place out of 55 schools from 13 states at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. The team also saw victory at Lower Columbia University and Pacific University in tournaments earlier this year.

“This is an academic team where the students get the opportunity to develop exceptional skills in public speaking and argumentation,” Mike Ingram, professor in the communications department and coach of the debate team, said.

Ingram’s favorite part of being the coach of the team is getting to work so closely with high achieving students and seeing them be so successful in the tournaments and competitions they participate in, he said. Many of the students who are on the team often go on to graduate school or find occupations after graduation using many of the skills that they have acquired while participating on the team.

“I am exceptionally proud of the seven seniors who provide leadership for the rest of the team,” Ingram added. “We also have three new freshmen who have been doing well. I am excited about the excellence continuing.”

This year marks the speech and debate team’s fourth year back at Whitworth, the 13th year overall after a 14 year gap where the funding was not provided by the administration. Unlike other sports on campus, the speech and debate team is not held back by school size or level. The tournaments and competitions they participate in often have division 1 schools in attendance, such as University of Oregon and University of Washington.

“My favorite part about being on the team is how most of the events we do is individual events so we are able to help each other and have a cool team dynamic,” Bri Anne Miller, a senior majoring in communications said.

Miller participated in speech and debate in high school and enjoyed it enough that she wanted to continue her experience when she came to Whitworth.

Freshman Phillip Allevato, a political science major, also enjoys the “cool team dynamic.” Allevato’s favorite part of being on the team is how everyone really comes together and is supportive of each other, he said.

Sophomore Kat Duarte, a computer science major, also commented on the support and love of her fellow teammates, saying that she “absolutely loves them.”

The team competed in their last tournament of the semester at Linfield College Nov. 14-16. They will resume competitions in January.


McKinley Powers

Staff Writer

Contact McKinley Powers at