Whitman College Forensics

A Newsletter of the Whitman College Forensics Team, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 1996

Whitman Success in Sweepstakes Awards


Dan Lair, new Assistant Director of Forensics, joins award winning Isaac Kamola, Jason Smith, David Kearney and Kristofer Peterson before takeoff.

The Whitman Speech and Debate Team has finally ended an incredibly successful fall semester of competition. In addition to winning numerous individual awards, the team ended competition this semester in 1st place in the Northwest Forensics Conference overall, as well as in the National Debate Team rankings for District 2 (CEDA and NDT are now debating the same topic).

The team won numerous other awards as well. Whitman took second place at the first NFC Designated Tournament at Lewis and Clark College. At the Columbia Basin College Tournament, we took 3rd place, tying with Linfield College. Unfortunately, we were not able to bring home a trophy due to Dan's decision to choose "rock" in a crucial, tie-breaking game of Rock, Paper, Scissors (he should have listened to Bob, who warned him "Never start with Rock!"). At the Yellowstone Swing, with only four competitors, Whitman took fourth place at the Talking Saints Classic Tournament (hosted by Whitman debate alum Brent Northup) and fourth overall at the swing for combined sweepstakes totals from both tournaments.

These accomplishments represent the hard work of a talented, dedicated team - and we keep getting better with every tournament! Watch out for an even more amazing spring semester when the team's travel schedule really kicks in!

Alumni Speech and Debate Reunion


Bob Withycombe holds a future debater-David and Lanora Hackett's new family addition!

The first ever Whitman Speech and Debate Alumni Reunion was held over Homecoming Weekend, September 27-29. The brainchild of alums Erik Highberg and David Hackett, the reunion brought together over 30 debaters from the past 60 years of Whitman debate history.

The reunion began with a reception at Bob's house on Friday. Everyone swapped stories, new and old debaters alike learning just how dramatically debate has changed. We exchanged old war stories, funny travel tales, and warm recollections of friends and mentors throughout the years.

Saturday morning began with an exhibition CEDA debate between current team members Sean Harris and Erin Carlson against Adam Symonds and Amanda Elegant. The afternoon saw first a Soapbox Oratory Contest, in which many alumni participated and Sharmann Badgett-Young won. After a reunion picture, there was another exhibition debate, this time showing off parliamentary debate between team members Kristofer Peterson and David Kearny against Jason Smith and Dave Perry. After the exhibition, Bob Withycombe moderated a discussion panel on the presidential election with President Tom Cronin, Politics Professor Mary Hanna and, of course, Jim. After the discussion, we got together for a nice dinner in the Old Music Foyer, where we once again recounted the old days of debate glory. The reunion was a resounding success. Everyone had a marvelous time swapping stories and meeting friends. We hope to have another reunion again sometime in the near future!


Professor Mary Hanna presents an analysis of the Presidential campaign while panel moderator Bob Withycombe, President Thomas Cronin, and Director of Forensics, Jim Hanson listen.

The 1996-1997 Coaching Staff


Jim shows off the new computer in his office. The team also received two brand new portables.

Whitman's talented core of competitors is backed up by an equally talented and dedicated coaching staff. Once again, our fearless leader is Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics. Jim continues to provide an excellent resource for our debaters, working hard to keep Whitman at the top. Drawing on his success both as a coach and former competitor himself, Jim is always there to give our competitors the skills they need to succeed. Oh, and don't forget the motivational role that Jim plays as well . We'd never get anywhere if it wasn't for Jim's Rudy-esque "Climb the Mountain, Whitman!" pep talks!


Dan Lair is hard at work editing speech manuscripts.

Joining the staff this year is Assistant Director of Forensics Dan Lair. Dan hails from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, where he competed in parliamentary debate and individual events. His accomplishments as a competitor include taking 2nd place at the 1995 National Parliamentary Debate Association National Tournament and 3rd place in Impromptu at the 1995 NIET. As this newsletter goes to press, Dan is just days from finally, officially receiving his degrees in Politics and Writing from Carroll (like other people who shall remain nameless, Dan also has the monster of a thesis breathing down his neck!).


Loan, Jared, and Ryan enjoy themselves during the Reunion dinner.

Returning again to our coaching staff is Jared Phillips, Assistant Director of Forensics. Jared brings his four years of competitive success in CEDA. Jared placed in the top 33 teams at CEDA Nationals, broke in every tournament his senior year, and was seventh speaker at the Northwest CEDA Championship. He helps out with the team's preparation on the negative and also contributes numerous annoying posts to the team's listserve. Jared continues to work in the Annual Fund Office.

Also coming back to help is Loan Lam. Loan works with the CEDA teams, listens to practice rounds and gives invaluable advice at tournaments. She also does a very good job of keeping her husband Jared in line, which we all appreciate. Loan had a successful competitive career at Whitman in CEDA and individual events and now, by a bizarre twist of linguistic fate, works in the Interlibrary Loan office in Penrose Library.

Returning after a one-year hiatus, Ryan J. Hagemann rejoins the Whitman coaching team as an assistant in parliamentary debate and individual events. Ryan was a very successful competitor and brings his experience, expertise and enthusiasm to the staff. After working at the Communitarian Network in Washington, D.C. for a year, Ryan currently works as an admission officer here at Whitman.

Becky Galentine smiles a big "hello"

The other new member of the coaching staff is Becky Galentine. Becky is our covert operator in Seattle who helps the CEDA team with research assignments and strategy discussions at tournaments. Becky was recently promoted to a management position at Weyerhauser. She's also prolific worker for the team contributing immense amounts of work to the team.

A Great Big Thanks!

Thanks for your contributions to the Walker Speech and Debate Fund! Generous donors include Laura Davis, Jared Phillips, Loan Lam, Drummond Kahn, Daphne Teals. If we missed you, tell us as all contributions made to the Walker Fund are greatly appreciated!

Whitman debates the British!

Erin Carlson and Simone Murray enjoyed talking with each other at a team reception for the British debaters.

On Monday, October 7, Whitman played host to Britain's best debaters in an exhibition debate on affirmative action.

Simone Murray, the 1996 European collegiate debate champion, and Stephen Magee, the 1996 John Smith Mace British Champion, were on a two month tour of 29 colleges and universities in the United States. At Whitman, they defended the resolution "This House Believes: There is Nothing Affirmative About Affirmative Action" against Whitman team members Jason Smith and Sean Harris. The debate featured Sean presenting a "top ten" list of the benefits of affirmative action, Stephen telling Sean that Sean seemed to be Canadian or a "whatever from North America," and Simone firing back at Jason's heckling.

Steven and Simone arrived a day earlier, when they watched the presidential debates with the team at Bob's house over Chicken Kiev. Another reception was held at the Withycombe's following Monday's debate, which ended with the Brits and the coaching staff watching the movie "Fargo," where Stephen and Simone were heading to the next day.


UB Article on the Whitman v British Debate


Whitman CEDA Debate

No wonder Jessica Clarke smiles for the camera. She and her partner Jason Liu have had an outstanding first semester!

The first semester was incredibly successful for Whitman's CEDA teams, who finally overcame (sort of) the dreaded 1-2 Decision Syndrome in the first outround!

The CEDA season began at the Lewis and Clark Tournament, on October 10-13, where all five teams broke. In Senior Division, Sean Harris and Adam Symonds garnished a 4-2 prelim record and won their octafinal round on a 2-1 decision, before falling 1-2 in quarters. Jessica Clarke and Jason Liu went 6-0 in Junior Division prelims, winning their quarter- and semi-final rounds on 3-0 decisions before dropping in the finals to College of Eastern Utah on a 1-2 decision to take second place. Also going 6-0 in junior prelims, Matthew Johnson and Peter Stiffler won their quarter final round on a 3-0 decision; they ended up taking 3rd place, losing their semi round on an 0-3. Amanda Elegant and Liz Briggs went 4-2 in prelims and won their quarterfinal round 2-1 before taking 3rd because they were in Jessica and Jason's bracket in semis. Rounding out the all-breaking performance at the tournament were Erin Carlson and Lisa Beyl, who went 4-2 in prelims before losing their quarterfinal round on a 1-2. The incredible team success was matched by strong individual performaces as well: Sean took 9th speaker in senior, and in junior Liz was 8th, Jessica 4th, Matthew 2nd, and Jason won 1st. The tournament was astonishingly successful, and with 22 CEDA points, Whitman was off to a powerful start!

Two weeks later, on October 25-27, the CEDA teams traveled to the University of Oregon. All teams competed in open division. Sean and Adam went 5-1 in prelims and won their first two outrounds on 3-0 decisions. They then won semis on a 2-1, before falling to Western Washington in finals and taking 2nd place. Jessica and Jason went 4-2 in prelims before losing octafinals on a 1-2 decision. Matthew and Peter also went 4-2, and also lost their ocatafinal. Amanda and partner Abby St. Lawrence lost their break round and Erin and Lisa missed elimination rounds on speaker points! Matthew grabbed 11th speaker, Adam took 8th, and Sean was named 3rd best speaker at the tournament. Whitman finished the tournament with 18 CEDA points.

To finish the semester, Sean and Adam traveled with Jim and Jared to the University of Central Oklahoma to scope out the national circuit. They advanced to the double-octafinal round and lost on a 1-2 to take 17th in a highly competitive field.

Whitman's Largest High School Tournament Ever!

On November 15-16, Whitman hosted its 24th annual High School Tournament. The tournament was much larger than we ever expected, exceeding the size of last year's by about 35 percent. The large increase meant we had to use almost every available nook and cranny on campus, but we were able to pull it off almost without a hitch!

The tournament was very successful. Not only were we able to reach out to hundreds of high school students, but we were also able to fund TWO Continuing Debate Student Awards from the proceeds. The recipients of the $1000 award, designed to award third or fourth year competitors with a continuing commitment to the team, were seniors Kristofer Peterson and Jason Smith.

Policy Debate

CEDA and NDT (two types of debate) now debate the same topic. And, that topic was written by our very own Sean Harris and Becky Galentine! The topic advocates more regulations on industry to reduce pollutants.

Intramural Debate


Peter Stiffler accepts his first place certificate in experienced IM debate from Kristofer Peterson, IM Debate Director.

This fall saw two Intramural Debate contests, organized by Intramural Debate Coordinator Kristofer Peterson. The first competition, held on September 26, gave participants a choice between two topics: the legalization of marijuana or delaying the Greek rush. Winners were, in experienced division, Peter Stiffler, 1st; Courtney Whitmore, 2nd; Tim Clairmont 3rd; and Vivian Beebe, 4th. In inexperienced division, Alan Averill took 1st place, Bobby DeGrouche was 2nd and Paul Newell 3rd. Each winner automatically received a berth in this spring's Intramural Debate Championships.

On December 5, the second tournament was held. Peter Stiffler again won the experienced division --and an automatic win in the championships. Winners in the inexperienced division included: Paul Newell, 1st; Rodney Gibson, 2nd; Matt Schelble, 3rd; Keith Magee, 4th; and Randy Walker, 5th.

We were pleased with the success of these tournaments.

Whitman Parliamentary Debate


Don't mess with these two! Jason Smith and David Perry smoked the competition in prelims at Lewis and Clark-going 6-0 in prelims!

Whitman's Parliamentary Debate team started off their first semester with a very successful tournament at Lewis and Clark College. In Senior Division, partners Jason Smith and Dave Perry went undefeated in preliminary rounds, advancing to outrounds as the top seed in a field that included some of the nation's best teams. Isaac Kamola and Akshay Garg, also competing in senior division advanced to elims with a 4-2 record; Lea Rees and Evan Bartlett also compiled a 4-2 record in junior division. Every team that advanced, however, lost on unfortunate split decisions in the octafinal round. David Kearney and Kristofer Peterson also competed in senior division, going 3-3 and narrowly missing advancing. Dave Perry was named 9th best speaker in senior division.

The next tournament took place the following weekend at Columbia Basin College. In Senior Division, David and partner Kari Uhrich went 3-2, losing in a hidden semifinal round to take 3rd place. Also competing in senior, but not advancing to the semifinal round, were Jason and Dave as well as Isaac and Akshay, who lost break rounds. Lea and Evan had a great tournament in novice division, going 4-2 and winning 1st place! Evan was recognized as top novice speaker; Lea was awarded 2nd speaker.

After a break of a few weeks, David, Kristofer, Jason, and Isaac traveled to the Yellowstone Swing in Powell, Wyoming, hosted by Dan's alma mater. David and Kristofer went 4-2 in prelims and won all of their outrounds, defeating the University of Wyoming in finals! Jason and Isaac went 5-1 and were byed out of the octafinal round as the top seed. They lost their quarterfinal round on a 3-0 decision, but each was recognized with a speaker award: Isaac was 8th best speaker at the tournament and Jason took 4th.

Although at this time national rankings have not been released, with a total of 29 points in just 2 NPDA sanctioned tournaments, Whitman is already in position to take a national sweepstakes award at the end of the year, and we keep improving every tournament!

Whitman Individual Events


Individual Events competitors Evan Bartlett and Chiasha Dickens share a warm moment.

As if the tremendous success in CEDA and Parliamentary Debate weren't enough, Whitman speakers have also jumped off to a strong start in Individual Events.

At the Lewis and Clark tournament, Whitman dominated Extemporaneous Speaking, taking 2nd place in every division: Kristofer in senior, Adam in junior, and Akshay in novice. Amanda was also a finalist in junior. Isaac's Poetry Interpretation on reality took 4th place in senior division and Chiasha Dickens took 3rd place in Novice Persuasion.

The next weekend at Columbia Basin, the success continued. David Kearney won 1st in Senior Impromtu speaking. In Novice Impromtu, Akshay took 2nd place while Chiasha was 4th. Chiasha was also 2nd in Junior Persuasion and 5th in senior Dual Interpretation, with partner Evan Bartlett. In Senior Persuasion, Lea Rees won 2nd place.

The four debaters who went to the Yellowstone Swing also competed in individual events at both tournaments. In the first tournament, the Northwest College Trapper Rendevous, everyone broke at least one event. In Impromptu, David and Jason advanced to semis and Kristofer took 2nd place. Kristofer also won Extemporaneous Speaking and took 3rd in Communication Analysis. Rounding out Whitman's success, Isaac took 3rd place in Poetry Interpretation. The next day, at the Carroll College Talking Saints Classic, Isaac took 5th in Poetry, while Kristofer was 2nd in Communication Analysis. Kristofer also took 2nd in Extemp. Speaking, qualifying that event for the National Individual Events Tournament.

Send messages to the Team!

Director of Forensics, James Hanson

Assistant Director of Forensics, Dan Lair

Assistant Director of Forensics, Jared Phillips

Assistant Director of CEDA Debate, Loan Lam

Assistant Director of Parliamentary Debate and IE's, Ryan J. Hagemann

Assistant Director of CEDA Debate, Becky Galentine

Intramural Debate Coordinator, Kristofer Peterson

Student Assistant, Abby St. Lawrence

Chair, Department of Speech, Robert M. Withycombe

President, Whitman College, Thomas E. Cronin

Competitors, Whitman Forensics Fall 1996

Abigail St. Lawrence, Adam Symonds, Akshay Garg, Amanda Elegant, Chiasha Dickens, David Kearney , David Perry, Erin Carlson, Evan Bartlett, Isaac Kamola, Jason Liu, Jason Smith, Jessica Clarke, Kari Uhrich, Kristofer Peterson, Lea Rees, Lisa Beyl, Liz Briggs, Matthew Johnson, Peter Stiffler, Sean Harris