September 24, 2018

Forensics team starts season with championships in California and Washington

South or north. Returning student or first college tournament. Speech events or debate.

The Lewis & Clark forensics team found themselves in a variety of different locations and circumstances in their first weekend of competition. The one constant is that all members of the team contributed to one of the strongest opening weekends in team history, as L&C won top honors in parliamentary debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate and individual events at tournaments held September 22-23 in San Francisco, CA and Bellevue, WA.

In Bellevue, L&C’s parliamentary debate teams competed at the Northwest Parli Warmup, held at Bellevue College. The team of Kate McDonagh (CAS ’20) and Mary Talamantez (CAS ’21) defeated Western Washington University in the final debate in order to win the championship. Advancing to semifinals were the teams of Colin Gesik (CAS ’20) and Brandon Roth (CAS ’20) as well as Charlie Brothersen (CAS ’19) and Austin Smith (CAS ’20). Roth was named the 2nd best speaker at the tournament, while Talamantez claimed 4th place honors.


In San Francisco, Lewis & Clark competed in speech events and in Lincoln-Douglas debate at the Golden Gate Opener held at San Francisco State University. L&C finished as the top school out of 23 that competed over the weekend, led by the performances of Ally Knighton (CAS ’21) and Aaron Lutz (CAS ’22), who were named the top two individual students at the tournament. Lewis & Clark students won six speech events over the weekend: Knighton in Informative Speaking and Duo Interpretation along with partner Brady Quick (CAS ’19), Lutz in Extemporaneous Speaking, Quick in Persuasive Speaking, and Hope Smothers (CAS ’22) in Poetry Interpretation.

Other individual event finals appearances at SFSU included:

Knighton: Prose Interpretation (2nd), Dramatic Interpretation (4th)

Lutz: Impromptu Speaking (2nd), After-Dinner Speaking (2nd)

Smothers: Dramatic Interpretation (3rd), Prose Interpretation (5th)

Kenneth Leja (CAS’ 21): Impromptu Speaking (2nd), Extemporaneous Speaking (3rd)

Amy Borton (CAS ’22): After-Dinner Speaking (3rd)


Lewis & Clark also entered students in Lincoln-Douglas debate at the San Francisco tournament. Jack Crawford (CAS ’22) won the event in his first collegiate tournament, defeating the University of the Pacific in finals to win the tournament. He was joined by Alex Webb (CAS ’22), who finished in quarterfinals and was named the 2nd best speaker at the tournament.


Director of Forensics Joe Gantt said of the weekend, “What a great way to start the season. These students have put quite a bit of work into their events prior to competition, and the performance this weekend shows the dividends of that work. I am especially proud that seven events this weekend were won by students, in whole or in part, by students in their first or second year of competition. Lewis & Clark has a lot to look forward to with this team.”


Parliamentary debaters next will travel to Houston, TX, for the Rice University Classic held Sept 29-30, while the speech team will next travel to Normal, IL for tournaments held at Illinois State University.