by Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer
The forensics team was mentioned in the school’s 2017 budget prioritization report for bringing the university external recognition and for being more effective with funds than 12 out of 15 athletic programs.
In the report, head coach Mike Ingram accredited the achievement to the team’s successful history.
“There is a history and a culture of doing really well so that attracts high achieving students who want to do well,” Ingram said. “We are one of the four best IPDA (International Public Debate Association) debate programs in the country”.
Whitworth’s debate program has won the national championships of the National Christian College Forensics Association for the past four years in a row, Ingram said.
The team has 12 members for this season, which runs from October to April.
The team travels to eight to 10 tournaments per year, Ingram said. To prepare for those tournaments, the team meets twice a week and each individual member meets with Ingram for one hour every week. Assistant coach Evan Barnes is also available for help. In addition to weekly meetings, members are expected to practice on their own time.
Sophomore biology major Jesse Domingo has been a member of the forensics team since the fall of 2015..
“A lot of [the work], especially for debates is keeping up on your current events,” Domingo said.
Junior Rylee Walter, an English literature and speech communication major, has been a member of the forensics team for two years. A typical week for Walter is packed with forensics activities.
“We need to run speeches at least a couple of times a week and also to meet up with our team mates and run speeches,” Walter said.
The forensics team covers travel expenses, tournament entry fees, supplies, travel, meals and lodging for the participants.
“It [the budget] comes through the communications studies department under the college of arts and sciences,” Ingram said. “It is under the academic arm of the university.” The head coach allocates the money accordingly, by trying to find the best deals on travel and lodging.
Both Walter and Domingo describe their experience as fun and emphasize the team relationships they have.
“The benefits outweigh the costs,” Walter said. “The benefits I get from forensics are much greater than the risk, I guess, that I take by losing time in class.”
Domingo said the most important skill he has developed since being on the forensics team is his listening skill.
“You have to go and listen to your opponent make their argument and you have to make sure you are getting it clearly,” Domingo said.
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