by Joshua Worden| Staff Writer
The Whitworth University Forensics Team took second place overall at the Lewis & Clark College tournament, their first competition of the season.
Over 41 schools from 12 states were represented, including the Air Force Academy, Rice University, and Oregon State University. In addition to their overall second place ranking, many of the Forensics Team’s 13 members took home individual awards in the competition’s 11 categories, which include debate, extemporaneous and informative speaking.
In total, the team brought home nine awards in debate and 12 awards in speech at the tournament.
Three of those awards were won by sophomore Tucker Wilson, who ranked first in IPDA debate, first in extemporaneous speaking, and second in impromptu speaking.
Wilson competed in the junior division, which is the middle skill-level in speech and debate.
Wilson started debate last year, in the novice division, he said.
“I never did it in high school, I didn’t have any speech and debate experience. I basically just liked talking in front of people. [Coach Ingram] took a shot on me and let me on the team,” Wilson said.
This tournament marked a new high point for Wilson’s accomplishments in debate, he said.
“I was the only one moving on to finals, so the whole team was prepping me, or at least the handful that I wanted. I would shoo the rest away because it was overwhelming,” Wilson said. “My coach was running the tournament for that form of debate, so he got to announce it and hand me my award. That was very, very cool.”
Forensics teams have been active infrequently throughout Whitworth’s history, said Mike Ingram, professor of communication and the coach of the Whitworth Forensics Team. This iteration has only been around since 2011, but it has already made a name for itself on the national level.
“We’re one of the top five programs in the whole country in IPDA,” Ingram said.
The team’s reputation attracts students to Whitworth, like Damian Sanchez, a freshman who competed at the tournament in the Novice division.
Sanchez won first-place in the novice division for “after-dinner speaking.”
“I didn’t know I was going to get that award, I thought I hadn’t done that hot,” Sanchez said.
“[Coach Ingram really preps his novices well.”
While Sanchez did well in his first outing, he recognized that he made some mistakes. In one of his events, Sanchez accidentally prepared to defend the wrong side of an argument, only realizing his mistake seven minutes before he was to present his case.
“I scrambled,” Sanchez said. “I basically went into the room and just made a really petty argument, and I came out and just [said], ‘Ugh, that hurt.’”
Although two-thirds of the team is new, Ingram is optimistic about the coming season. “We have a lot of freshmen on the team. Some of them have forensics backgrounds and some do not, but so far, they’ve brought great intellect and great enthusiasm,” Ingram said.
Although the speeches and debates are solo events, Ingram emphasized the importance of teamwork.
“The heart of our success is how well our team prepares together,” Ingram said. “Students can help each other, they can leverage what it is they know.”
The team’s next tournament is will be the Jim McPherson Classic, located at Whitworth on Oct. 22 and 23., Look for schedules posted in the HUB.