Whitman Forensics Newsletter

Vol. 9, No. 1, December, 2002



Bridget, Chris and the entire parli team

               When it comes to running with the big dawgs, Bridget Kustin and Chris Gorman are leaders of the pack.  They broke at every tournament this semester with outstanding performances at the Western Washington Scrimmage where they took 2nd, PLU where they took 9th, the University of Oregon where they took 5th, and the Lewis Clark State College tournament where they took 3rd. They are ranked in the top 25 in the nation with a 83.3% win ratio with only 4 losses in preliminary rounds according to NPTE rankings.  They look to continue their success throughout the spring semester on the national circuit at the Fullerton, Great Salt Lake, and Point Loma tournaments. 

Bridget makes her case as Chris flows.

Assistant Coach Brian Danielson noted that: “Both Bridget and Chris are extremely intelligent and have an amazing way of seeing the big picture in a debate round.”  Chris and Bridget aren’t the only big dawgs on campus though.  With 5 out of 6 teams breaking at the University of Oregon tournament, all of our parliamentary teams are quite strong. Sam Spiegel and Beth Pearson have been in elimination rounds at two tournaments, Scott Thompson and Brian Ward are a strong force to reckon with, Martin Ishikawa and Jackie Jenkins have won two tournaments in novice division, and Rob Olson and Lydia Eberly are poised for a great season after taking second place at Lewis Clark State’s tournament. Matt Jumago and Scott Daniel have also had success and promise even more in their second semester!


Charles and Thad have a congenial practice debate but beneath the veneer is a morbid competitiveness!


Thad versus Charles

               The Western Washington Warmup was the first tournament of the year for the Whitman policy crew. Charles Olney and Thad Blank, had been hard at work preparing for the topic since the early summer months. Well, at least Charles had been preparing since then. Thad, on the other hand, had been lounging away on a tropical island or spending his time kayaking in Boise. Despite this, he and Charles still managed to win the warmup without losing a round. Thad’s relaxed manner dazzled the judges into awarding him first speaker at the tournament, with Charles receiving second.

               Thad began to hatch a secret plot to maintain his dominance over Charles: he decided to do more research about space colonization than was humanly possible. No one was quite sure why Thad hid in the squad room surrounded by a wall of library books about space or why space was such an important issue to research on a topic about

international treaties, but Thad pressed on. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish his space file in time for the Kentucky tournament. He wound up behind Charles at the Kentucky Round Robin but exacted his revenge at the regular tournament (Thad, 4th; Charles 10th). Thad’s obsession with space exploration, combined with Charles’ research on everything else on the topic, rocketed them into 3rd as a team. Charles shot back at Thad at the Harvard tournament taking 9th speaker while Thad held onto 11th (together, they were 3rd).

               By the Wake Forest tournament, Thad had become an expert on space colonization and even managed to get all his evidence together. Teams shuddered in terror as Thad started to talk about how an asteroid that would destroy the planet was on its way. One team remarked, “We had no idea that space was such an important issue.” Judges were equally impressed by Thad’s talk of space shown by their six wins during the preliminary rounds. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the octofinals. “Dude, look, we have to get off the rock,” Thad pleaded, but two out of the three were unconvinced. Despite this disheartening loss, Thad was still able to walk away with the satisfaction that he had beat Charles again in the overall speaker rankings. When asked to comment on their tremendous success during the year, Thad, after pausing for a few seconds, stated, “Space is cool, man.” Charles was heard muttering in the background that he would beat Thad at the USC tournament.

               In the meantime, our younger teams are doing quite well. Dave and Beth just missed breaking at Wake Forest and they and Eric and Nav have broken at every Northwest tournament. Emily and Mike were in the top ten at WWU and Oregon and Kyle and Kathryn and Jeff and Gareth closed out junior division at WWU with Eric and Nav. Go policy debaters!


The 2002-03 Parliamentary Debate Teams

Front: Bridget, Chris, Beth P.

Rear: Lydia, Martin, Jackie, Brian D (coach), Scott T, Matt, Sam and Rob


Matt and Sam do duo Interp.  Corinne, Harmony, Bridget, Martin, and Lydia are also doing interps this year.

The 2002-03 Policy Debate Teams

Front row: Kathryn, Beth S, Thad, Nav.

Second row: Brian S. (coach), Eric, Jeff, Charles and Emily

Rear row: Kyle and Gareth








Jim continues in his 11th year as director. You can see Bob and Nancy on the left and Mike, Charles, Beth, and Rob on the right.


Brian Simmonds works hard for policy debate.


Brian Danielson is a “chill” parliamentary debate and speaking events coach.


Samantha Howell enjoys her job as student assistant and intramural forensics manager.


Katie Imbeau is leading our Interp performers to many awards.


Jim: “The new students on our team are easy going and quite talented.”


Staff: Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics, Brian Simmonds, Assistant Policy Coach; Brian Danielson, Assistant Parliamentary and I.E. Coach; Samantha Howell, Student Assistant and Intramural Debate Manager; Katie Imbeau, Dramatic Interpretation Student Assistant; Julie Caton Helper in Interpretation; Bob Withycombe, Chair, Rhetoric and Film Studies; and Thomas Cronin, President, Whitman College.

28 Competitors, Fall 2002: Beth Pearson, Beth Schueler, Bridget Kustin, Brian Ward, Chandra Carlisle, Charles Olney, Chris Gorman, Corrine Gibbon, David Guidry, Emily Marr, Eric Suni, Gareth Campbell, Harmony Paulson, Jackie Jenkins, Jeff Buntin, Josh Wnuk, Kathryn Bergh, Kyle Krohn, Lydia Eberly, Martin Ishikawa, Matt Jumago, Michael Winnike, Nav Rekhi, Rob Olsen, Sam Spiegel, Scott Daniel, Scott Thompson, Thad Blank.



The new assistant coaches don’t look so new!

               Brian Simmonds is back for another year as the full time Assistant Policy Debate Coach and part time thesis writer.  Despite traveling across the United States to tournaments such as Wake Forest and the University of Kentucky, and spending countless hours in the prep rooms working with students, Brian Simmonds managed to finish his thesis…and receive honors.  Known lately for his zombie like appearance and strange mutterings regarding his thesis, we expect him to be back to “normal” any day now. When asked what the best part of being done with his thesis was, Simmonds responded with, “Now that I’m done with my thesis I get to pursue my true career as a professional gambler!”   While that may be the case, the odds are good that Brian Simmonds will actually end up attending law school in the near future. 

               Brian Danielson is back on the Whitman Team again, but has discovered a challenging new position, that of the Assistant Parliamentary Debate and Individual Events Coach.  Brian comes to the position following a brief stint as a “customer care specialist” at a technical support call center where he was well known by those in the cells....I mean cubicles around him as the “guy with the radio voice” and was once mistaken for a computerized voice by a caller.  When asked what his favorite part of being the new coach was, Brian replied, “The phone never rings….The phone never rings…” while staring into space with a strange glaze over his eyes.   Known far and wide on the parliamentary debate circuit for his distinctive camouflage hat, Brian has helped to get the Whitman Parliamentary Debate team off to a great start. “Being back on the circuit is great,” says Brian, “these kids work really hard on debate and it’s great to see them do well at tournaments.  Not to mention the fact that the Motel 6’s that we stay at are way classier than my apartment.”  He’s even willing to shed a little blood for debate.  While judging the final round of the Lewis Clark State College tournament he developed a nosebleed but valiantly continued to flow the round and made the correct choice of who won the round.  (Jim squirreled.  J )


Lydia anticipates her gift!                    Gareth and Beth have fun filing evidence.


               Samantha Howell rejoins the team as the student assistant and intramural debate coordinator taking over the position from Julie Caton who graduated last year.  Samantha did a great job this year with the High School Debate tournament, serving as Jim’s vital communications link and making sure that everyone had a clear understanding of what was going on in the chaos that is a High School Debate tournament. 

               Katie Imbeau may not be competing on the Whitman team due to increased involvement with the theatre department but that doesn’t stop her from being a coach! Katie and Julie Caton, who is living in town, have been coaching the dramatic interpretation events with outstanding results.  “Katie and Julie are amazing,” says Brian Danielson, “you can see a real difference when a student gives their speech after just one practice with them.” 



Jeff smiles for the camera.   Stocking bags await!      Kathryn is beaming!










The team engages in the gift exchange—that’s Beth Scheuler, then on the left, Chris, Rob, Brian D., and guest Patrick Carter who plans to join the team next semester.


Hanson’s Holiday Housewarming

Sunday, December 8th marked the celebration of a Whitman forensics team tradition of the annual Holiday party and White Elephant gift exchange.  This year was a special year however as the party also served as an unveiling of Jim’s new house to the team.  As they moved from room to room admiring Jim’s decision to move out of his hovel of an apartment, the team enjoyed roast shrimp, warm breadsticks, cheese and crackers, and a delicious cioppino made by Jim himself.  Best of all, no one has died or come down ill with food poisoning….yet.  The gift exchange was filled with its traditional backstabbing in pursuit of the cast-off trappings of capitalism.  Jim unloaded his old microwave on Rob Olsen, Nav Rehki stole the box with sox that Brian Danielson had chosen, and pacifist Charles Olney beat down the competition to get the present he wanted, “The Big Book of Hugs.”  And as usual the team was left scratching their heads as they opened their stockings to find little glow in the dark aliens, race cars, stuffed animals, balloons, and strange masses of fake fur.  Strange mass of fake fur recipient David Guidry remarks, “I’m seriously considering wearing this as a bracelet full time to make people in classes think I’m crazy.”   I don’t know if it will work but I do know that this year’s Holiday and Housewarming party was a success.



Whitman continues speech and Interp success

               Despite a large changeover, Whitman continues to do well in IE’s. Sam took 1st with a piece on the Dresden bombing and recent New York Times articles. Bridget has been wowing them with her speech on “bloodless” surgery. Beth P. is bringing in the trophies with her persuasive on invasive species. Bridget and Sam took 1st in duo with a piece by Christopher Durang. Rob, Lydia, Emily, Mike, and Chris won awards in impromptu; Corrine, Martin & Harmony won in Interp; Jackie in Informative. We can go on and on!


“I’m just gonna rock their plan now”

Nav, Martin, and Beth share good times. Watch out for Martin in debates though!

               Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  For anyone going against the dynamic duo of Martin Ishikawa and Jackie Jenkins, they’re too afraid of to be worried about fear itself.  At the PLU tournament Martin and Jackie took first place in novice division, at which the famous phrase “I’m just gonna rock their plan now” was first uttered by Martin during the Leader of Opposition speech during the octa-final round.  Taken slightly off guard by the government case Martin stumbled for a moment then “rocked” the governments plan by putting forth a flurry of disadvantages to adopting the plan.  “As soon as I heard Martin say that,” says assistant coach Brian Danielson, “I knew that the round was over.  The entire mood of the audience swung and Martin and Jackie played it to the hilt.”  Martin and Jackie aren’t just great debaters, they are both outstanding in Individual Events as well.  Martin has been performing an amazing piece on cars and sexuality featuring pieces varying from the poet E.E. cummings to the band Cake. It’s also true that Jackie Jenkins is astounding critics and competitors alike with her speech on lie detection devices and persuading individuals that the incredible edible egg just might be an eggcellent way to get salmonella poisoning. 


Scott and Charles make a Movie

To the left, Charles has been working on the script, filming, and acting for a parody of the “Return of the King” movie he and Scott Daniel are producing.

               Thousands of person hours go into making the Whitman team climb the mountain to success.  Toss in a mixture of classes, homework, and socializing and there can be precious little left over time.  Nonetheless, under the artistic eyes of Scott Daniel and Charles Olney, filming has begun on a 30 minute rendition on the Tolkien classic, “Return of the King.”  The films cast abounds with a who’s who list of the Whitman team roster including Thad, David, Eric, Kathryn, Gareth, Rob, Beth S. and Emily. Even Jim Hanson gets into the act with his Oscar worthy performance of Denethor.  Brian Danielson agreed to play King Theoden when promised that all he had to do was die and that he could wear his trademark hat as a crown. Charles and Scott not only direct the film but both play staring roles as Gandalf and Sam.  With the production schedule running as smooth as a small tournament, filming should wrap up before winter break sends the Fellowship to the four corners of the United States for the holidays.  When will it be finished?  Look for it at the Whitman Film Festival.


Intramural Debate and now Drama!

               The 2002 intramural debate season got off to a great start this December 6th, when students debated the topic “Resolved: The United States should attack Iraq only if the United Nations Security Council approves.”  Competition was fierce in both the Inexperienced and Experienced divisions with Todd Blodgett and Sean Beaver coming out victorious.  This year also marked the introduction of the Intramural Dramatic Interpretation competition. Jeff Tillinghest and Cat Posey won amazing the members of the judging pool.







Whitman Forensics Newsletter

Vol. 9, No. 1, December, 2002


Withycombe and Walker Fund Contributions

We are grateful for your contributions to the forensic team! Generous donors May 1, 2002 through December 11, 2002 include: Kelly and Matthew Cleman, Andrew Backlund, Jennifer Becker, Janice Berman, Jim Hanson, Drummond Kahn and Daphne Teals, Charlotte and David McClusky, Keola Whittaker, Bob Withycombe, Polly Rae, Stephen Rowe, and Peter Stiffler. If we missed you, please tell us because we do appreciate your support!

Send contributions to the Walker Fund or the Withycombe Fund to:

            Annual Fund Office

            Whitman College

            Walla Walla WA 99362

Checks should be made out to Whitman College with a note that says to place the contribution into the Walker or Withycombe Fund.


Beth and Thad ham it up at the Wake Forest tournament.

Check the History Pages: Are they Correct?

Check your years at www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/history/

E-mail additions and changes to Jim at hansonjb@whitman.edu


Alumni visit

During this year’s alumni weekend, we were lucky enough to be visited by Kristofer Peterson with Pascal Goorbin, and Amanda Elegant as well as Karen Schack (Skantze). Following a brief tour of the debate offices, most of this group jaunted off to dinner at the new and rather good Creektown Cafe.  Team story after team story bubbled around the table during the meal and a good time was definitely had by all.  If you are ever in Walla Walla, feel free to drop by the forensic offices on the third floor of Hunter and say hello and meet some of the team. Chances are you could probably convince Jim to show you his new place. Charlotte McCluskey (Smith), Abby St. Lawrence, Jared Phillips, Loan Lam, Keola Whittaker, and several others visited earlier in the year.


Abby, Julie and Samantha all together. Representing seven and continuing years of service, these three have kept Jim’s sanity. Jim noted: “It was cool to have them here all together. Hmmm, well, even Abby was good to see.”

Policy Awards

“Thad and Charles are racking up accolades across the country but as you can see, our younger folks reveal a promising policy future for us.”

Beth Schueler and David Guidry: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 3rd; University of Puget Sound, 5th; University of Oregon, 3rd; Wake Forest, 5-3, missed on speaks.

Emily Marr and Michael Winnike: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 4-2, not breaking.

Eric Suni and Nav Rekhi: Jr., Western Scrimmage, 1st; Sr., University of Puget Sound, 5th; University of Oregon, 3rd.

Gareth Campbell and Jeff Buntin: Jr., Western Scrimmage, 1st.

Kathryn Bergh and Kyle Krohn: Jr., Western Scrimmage, 1st; University of Oregon, 3rd.

Thad Blank and Charles Olney: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 1st; Kentucky Round Robin, 6th in a 6 way tie for 1st; Kentucky Regular, 3rd; Harvard, 3rd; Wake Forest, 9th.

Parli Awards

“We are strong in all divisions of parli this year. It’s very exciting.”

Chris Gorman and Bridget Kustin: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 2nd; PLU, 9th; University of Oregon, 5th; Lewis Clark State, 3rd

Jackie Jenkins and Martin Ishikawa: PLU, 1st; Oregon, 3rd.

Lydia Eberly and Rob Olsen: Jr., University of Oregon, 5th; Lewis Clark State, 2nd

Matt Jumago and Rob Olsen: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 4-2, not breaking; Jr., PLU, 4-2, missed on speaks.

Sam Spiegel and Beth Pearson: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 5th; University of Oregon, 9th

Scott Thompson and Brian Ward: Sr., Western Scrimmage, 4-2, not breaking; University of Oregon, 5th.


Individual Events Awards

“I am really pleased at our I.E. success. Many students graduated or moved on and this year’s kids stepped up to the plate.”

Beth Pearson: Jr. Extemp, 4th, Oregon.

Beth Pearson: Jr. Persuasion, 1st, PLU, 1st, Oregon.

Bridget Kustin and Sam Spiegel: Open Duo, Finalist, PLU; 1st, Oregon.

Bridget Kustin: Sr. Informative, Finalist, PLU, Finalist, Lewis Clark State.

Chris Gorman: Sr. CA, 1st, Lewis Clark State.

Chris Gorman: Sr. Impromptu, 4th, Oregon.

Corrine Gibbon: Jr. Drama, 4th, Oregon.

Emily Marr: Jr. Impromptu, 2nd, Oregon.

Harmony Paulsen: Jr. Drama, 3rd, Oregon.

Jacki Jenkins: Jr. Persuasion, 6th, Oregon.

Jacki Jenkins: Sr. Informative, 1st, PLU; Jr., 4th, Oregon.

Jeff Buntin: Jr. Extemp, 5th, Oregon.

Lydia Eberly: Jr. Impromptu, 3rd, PLU; Finalist, Lewis Clark State.

Martin Ishikawa: Jr. Programmed, 4th, Oregon.

Mike Winnike: Jr. Impromptu, 1st, Oregon.

Rob Olsen: Jr. Impromptu, 1st, PLU; Finalist, Lewis Clark State.

Sam Spiegel: Sr. Programmed, 1st, Oregon.

Scott Thompson: Sr. CA, 3rd, PLU.