September 26, 2017

Lewis & Clark forensics excels in season opening tournaments

The Lewis & Clark forensics team opened its 2017-18 season with standout performances in both speech and debate.

The Lewis & Clark forensics team opened 2017-18 with standout performances from both its debate and speech squads in the season’s first competitive weekend, September 23-24. Debaters earned a win competing at a tournament held at Bellevue College, while the team’s speakers delivered numerous winning and finals entries at tournaments held at The Colorado College.

Debate (Bellevue, WA)


Lewis & Clark entered a field made up of the best parliamentary teams from the Pacific Northwest. Lewis & Clark had five of the eight teams in quarterfinals, and L&C ended up with both teams in the final round to win the tournament.

Kate McDonagh (’20) and Austin Smith (’20) got top honors for the weekend, as they went 5-0 in preliminary debates, defeating teams from the University of Puget Sound, the College of Idaho and Western Washington University. They were joined in finals by the team of Sarah McDonagh (’18) and Mikayla Parsons (’18), who defeated the College of Idaho in the semifinal debate to seal the Lewis & Clark closeout of finals.

Over the course of the weekend, Lewis & Clark’s debaters had topics on a number of current controversial issues, such as intervention in North Korea, sanctions toward Russia, and what should happen to Confederate monuments.

Also advancing to elimination rounds were the teams of Brandon Roth (’20)/William Woods (’19), Charlie Brothersen (’19)/Sophie Picton(’18), and Colin Gesik (’20)/Asher Kalman (’18).

Speech (Colorado Springs, CO)


The individual events team opened the season at a very competitive tournament at The Colorado College, which will be the host for nationals in 2018. This year’s tournament drew schools from across the nation, including four of last year’s top twenty schools.

Two Lewis & Clark students won events in Colorado. Jacob Wisda (’18) was the top competitor in both After-Dinner speaking and Extemporaneous Speaking, while team newcomer Ally Knighton (’21) earned first place in Poetry Interpretation in her first competitive weekend of college forensics. Both Wisda in ADS and Knighton in Poetry bested fields including last year’s national champions in order to win their events.

Other L&C events that made it to elimination rounds included Wisda (2nd place Impromptu Speaking, 6th place Informative Speaking), Knighton (4th place After-Dinner Speaking), Decker O’Donnell (’18) (4th place Impromptu Speaking) and Basil Hawley (’19) (semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking).

Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said of the weekend, “This was a great way to start the new season. We welcomed six new students to the squad, we got to compete against some great speakers and debaters, and we had a lot of success. Both squads showed that we have a lot to look forward to from this talented group in the coming months.”

The next tournament for both the speech and debate squads will be in California at the San Diego State University tournament held October 6-8.