Lewis & Clark forensics sweeps top honors for Northwest Forensics Conference
For the second straight year, the forensics team at Lewis & Clark has been honored with the highest honor for forensics teams in the Northwest. L&C was awarded the “Gold Medal Program” at the final Northwest Forensics Conference tournament, held January 27-29 at Western Washington University. Additionally, team members made history by sweeping the top individual honors for the region.
The Northwest Forensics Conference is made of up of 46 schools from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, California and Alaska. The NFC designates three showcase tournaments (this year hosted by Lewis & Clark, Linfield and Western Washington) to count for season-long sweepstakes, and performances from those tournaments are compiled to recognize top schools. L&C’s strong performance at all three tournaments led to its award as a Gold Medal program. It is the second consecutive year to win this honor.
Highlighting the overall team performance were a number of impressive individual performances. Jacob Wisda (’18) won the Coaches’ Commemorative Award, given to the most outstanding individual competitor in the region throughout the three designated tournaments, for the second straight year. His strongest competition came from teammates, as Decker O’Donnell (’18) finished in second and Ben Soleim (’18) finished in third. It was the first single-school sweep of the top three spots in the recent history of the NFC.
O’Donnell was named the top overall student at Western Washington’s tournament, as he finished in first place in Communication Analysis, Extemporaneous Speaking and Dramatic Interpretation. Wisda finished in first in Impromptu Speaking while the team of Claire Crossman (’17) and Brady Quick (’19) won Duo Interpretation.
In debate, Sarah McDonagh (’18) and Hannah Mathieson (’17) continued Lewis & Clark’s success by winning the parliamentary debate tournament at WWU. McDonagh and Mathieson won every debate round during the weekend, finishing with an 8-0 record after defeating The College of Idaho for the title. Additionally, McDonagh was named top individual speaker and Mathieson was named second. Finishing in quarterfinals were the team of Brandon Roth (’20) and William Woods (’19) as well as the team of Charlie Brothersen (’19) and Kate McDonagh (’20). These performances sealed invitations to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence for all three teams.
Speaking of the overall squad performance, head coach and Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said, “I am very proud of the fact that this team received overall gold medal honors for the second consecutive year. The NFC honors well-rounded and consistent performances, and we have gotten that from both our speech and debate competitors this season. To have the number of students that we did competing for individual honors is rare, and it speaks to the talent and work ethic of our team members. I am looking forward to seeing what this team can do at nationals.”