Strong Start for Speech and Debate in San Francisco
After one of the best years in program history, the Lewis & Clark speech and debate team entered its new season with one of its largest incoming classes and high expectations.
So far, so good. The team garnered first place four-year school honors at the Golden Gate Opener, held September 20-22 at San Francisco State University. Notably, both the speech and debate components of the program had excellent showings in their first competitions of the season, as L&C debaters won all three divisions of debate they entered while speakers accumulated six championships over two tournaments held during the weekend.
In parliamentary debate, the team of Raine McDonagh (’20) and Mary Talamantez (’21), a national semifinalist from 2019, won seven of their eight debates in taking the title, defeating a team from the University of the Pacific in the final debate. Talamantez was named the top individual speaker throughout the weekend, while McDonagh was third.
In Lincoln-Douglas debate, L&C debaters had five of the eight quarterfinalists in the varsity division. Alex Webb (’22) was the champion with a perfect record throughout the weekend, also defeating a debater from the University of the Pacific in the final round. Anthony Kolshorn (’22) and Jack Crawford (’22) each were semifinalists, while Talamantez and Rose Thompson (’23) finished in the quarterfinal round. Phillip Geiser (’23) also took home a tournament title, winning six of his seven debates in the junior division and defeating a debater from the University of Nevada-Reno in the final round.
Debate coach Nadia Steck said of the performances, “I couldn’t be more proud of the squad this weekend. Everyone performed so phenomenally well. With our returning students winning the open NPDA division and the Open NFA-LD division, our new students managing to not only advance in both open and junior NFA-LD but also winnning the Junior division- I can’t express how excited I am to see what these students do moving forward.”
In speech events, Lewis & Clark won six individual events by four separate students. Returning national Extemporaneous Speaking champion Aaron Lutz (’22) won titles in Extemporaneous speaking, Informative Speaking and Persuasive speaking, while finishing in second place in Impromptu Speaking. Lutz was named the top overall four year student at the event.
Hope Smothers (’22) won in Dramatic Interpretation along with a second place in Prose Interpretation. A pair of first year students added championships in their first tournament ever, as Danny Brady (’23) won top honors in Prose Interpretation and Gavin Patchet (’23) finished atop the standings in Impromptu Speaking, adding a third place in Persuasive Speaking. Kenneth Leja (’21) had finals appearances in three events, with a third place in Informative Speaking and fourth place in Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking, and Amy Borton (’22) placed second in Dramatic Interpretation and fourth in Prose Interpretation.
The next full squad event for the team is the Steve Hunt Classic, a tournament hosted on the Lewis & Clark campus October 11-13. Before that, however, Talamantez and Kolshorn will represent the team at the Oregon State Penitentiary in a unique tournament where they will debate against four teams of incarcerated individuals along with eleven college teams.