Hoping to continue the tremendous success of the fall semester, the Whitman College forensics team entered the spring semester ready to compete nationally with a rather difficult schedule. At a mix of national and regional tournaments, the Whitman competitors represented both themselves and the College well, attending all three national championship tournaments at the culmination of a competitive and educational season.
Over the Winter break, three Whitman CEDA teams and two individual events competitors got a jump on the competition and attended the two tournaments known as the "Cal Swing." The Cal Swing typically provides teams and competitors with an opportunity to debate the Spring CEDA topic early and view competition that might not otherwise be seen until the national tournaments. Whitman did rather well, breaking the teams of Sean Harris and Chris White & Steve Rowe and Jared Phillips into the elimination rounds at both tournaments. The highlight of Whitman's competitive successes was Steve Rowe and Jared Phillips winning two elimination rounds, overcoming a Northwest Louisiana team, and advancing to the quarterfinal round.
After the Cal Swing, the entire team made an impressive showing at a regional tournament at Pacific Lutheran University, combining debate and individual events to take a second place sweepstakes award. With Southern Texas University taking first, Whitman captured the second place plaque and the best showing among Northwest teams. Among team successes were Kristofer Peterson as second in impromptu, Jared Phillips as a finalist in extemporaneous, Jared Phillips and Steve Rowe advancing to the senior CEDA semi-final, and Amanda Elegant and Erin Rogers capturing the junior CEDA title.
The success of the team continued with showings at both the University of Utah and the Western Washington University tournaments. At Utah, Jared Phillips and Steve Rowe, Sean Harris and Chris White, and Dave Perry and Kristofer Peterson all broke into the elimination rounds, while Kristofer Peterson broke into the semi-finals of senior impromptu as well. Furthermore, at Western Washington University, Karen Skantze and Kristofer Peterson spearheaded the revitalization of the individual events program with awards in persuasion, impromptu, extemporaneous, and after-dinner speaking. Erin Rogers, paired up with Kristofer Peterson to take the junior CEDA title. Whitman, with its participation and success thus far in the Spring semester, had positioned itself nicely for the national tournaments coming up in March and April.
The Heart of America tournament at the University of Kansas probably provided the Whitman CEDA program with its largest competitive challenge of the season, as Jared Phillips and Andy Backlund paired up to break into the elimination round. This is a wonderful achievement, as Heart of America is an extraordinarily competitive and prestigious tournament to attend. It provided invaluable experience for the Northwest CEDA Championships held in Eugene in early March, where Jared and Andy placed ninth, and Sean and Chris advanced to the double-octafinal round.
Finally, at Whitman's own tournament, the team did rather well, as David Kearney and Jessie Sherwood, along with Tim Clairmont and Ryan Murphy paired up to close out the Junior Parliamentary Debate division, all senior CEDA teams broke, and Kristofer Peterson qualified for nationals in two events, extemporaenous and impromptu.
Jean Finn and Tara Kerr receive congratulations from Director of Forensics Jim Hanson for taking first place in the inexperienced division of the intramural debate tournament.
With both an experienced and inexperienced division, faculty and staff participation, and assistance from the current Whitman College forensics team, the first intramural debate tournament at Whitman College since the 1940s took place. Throughout the preliminary rounds, concluding with a final debate round held in Olin Hall, participants did an excellent job both making arguments regarding the topics and providing an educational atmosphere to better understand the importance of public speaking.
Two-person teams, consisting of Whitman students not on the Whitman College forensics team, debated in four preliminary rounds to determine who would move on to the elimination rounds. They also had the opportunity to choose between two topics. The teams could either debate the resolution "Resolved that the United States government should reinvent the welfare system," or "Resolved that senior colloquium should be retained as a distribution requirement at Whitman College." Interestingly, students chose to debate both topics throughout the tournament.
The final round was rather good. Emerging victorious in the experienced division were Greg Schnorr and Dana Jurika, who defeated Casie Buckner and Matt Levin in a 3-0 decision, debating the welfare topic. Director of Forensics Jim Hanson, Professor of Politics Mary T. Hanna, and Admission Officer Craig Wilcox served as the judges for the final round. Ryan McFarland and Andrew Noble & Tim Clairmont and Ryan Murphy tied for third place.
In the inexperienced division, Jean Finn and Tara Kerr won first place, while Brian Pinaire and Andrea Duvall paired up to take second place and Valerie Helgren and Susan Miller took third place.
The Whitman College forensics team has hired a new assistant for the 1995-1996 season. Natalie Yarwood, a 1995 graduate of Western Washington University, will be coming to Whitman College at the beginning of the academic year to assume her duties.
Natalie brings talent, success, and a friendly personality to Whitman College. Her success during her years at Western Washington is unquestionable. This year, she compiled a record with her partner Jennifer Kleven that included winning the Lewis & Clark College tournament, the Western States Communication Association tournament, and advancing to the quarter-finals of the prestigious Heart of America tournament. Natalie is also noted for her dedication of energy to issues concerning women in the activity of competitive debate, as she led a successful seminar at Western Washington University. We look forward to Natalie joining Whitman College in the fall!
Although Whitman College forensics has a core group of competitors and Director of Forensics Jim Hanson returning for the 1995-1996 season, much of the 1994-1995 staff is moving on to new and different experiences.
Assistant Director of Forensics Ryan J. Hagemann, a 1994 honors graduate of Whitman College in politics, is making a move to Washington D.C. He will be serving under Dr. Amitai Etzioni as a policy analyst for the Center for Communitarian Policy Studies at George Washington University. Although Ryan has enjoyed his time with the students and the individual events program at Whitman, this is certainly an opportunity that he cannot turn down!
Assistant Director for Debate and Admission Officer Charlotte Smith, Class of 1993 in Politics is also making a substantial change in her life. After serving the Whitman College Office of Admission, Charlotte is getting married to David McClusky, Class of '94 in June, and moving to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a masters degree in counseling. We will miss Charlotte's advice and wisdom, but wish her luck in her new pursuits!
Student Assistant Nicole Levin, after getting married in October and graduating with honors in Gender Studies in May, will move to Hawaii in September. Eventually, she will pursue a law degree, while her husband, Matt Levin, plans to return to graduate school.
Jennifer Becker will still assist the program, although she has accepted a new position within the College. Recently, Jennifer filled a vacancy in the Office of Admission, left by the Assistant Director of Debate Charlotte Smith. Fortunately, Jennifer's knowledge and coaching will serve Whitman forensics well.
Finally, former Director of Forensics and chair of the Speech Department Bob Withycombe will be taking a full-year sabbatical, wrapping up his tenure as the Associate Dean of the Faculty!
Second-year student Kristofer Peterson prepares his "extemporaneous box" for the National Individual Events tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Elaine Ruth Laramee, Class of 1984, shared with the Whitman College forensics team that she was recently hired at New York Life Insurance as the Managing Editor of their magazine, The Review! We are very interested in hearing about former Whitman forensics participants! Send any information to Director Jim Hanson, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington 99362. Remember, you can use e-mail, too!
Whitman's senior CEDA competitors take some time for relaxation after a difficult national tournament at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. Pictured below are Chris White, Andy Backlund, Sean Harris, Jared Phillips. Amanda Elegant, Bob Withycombe, Steve Rowe, and Jim Hanson
While competing in distinctly different activities, Whitman College sent competitors to three national championship tournaments. This year, Whitman College sent three teams to the CEDA National Championship tournament in San Diego, one team to the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships in Salem, Oregon, and one competitor to the National Individual Events Tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The CEDA debaters experienced success in breaking two teams into the elimination rounds, with both teams winning an out-round before facing defeat. Jared Phillips and Andy Backlund defeated Arizona State University on a 3-0 decision before losing to Gonzaga, the eventual national runner-up. Sean Harris and Chris White likewise defeated Northeast Missouri before losing to the #11 seed from Southern Illinois. Whitman's CEDA competitors should be very proud of their accomplishments, as should the several teams from the Northwest who broke and received speaker awards.
First-year student David Kearney and junior Jessie Sherwood gave up the last few days of their Spring Break to travel to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon to participate in the NPDA national tournament. As parliamentary debate is becoming increasingly popular in the Northwest, this was Whitman's first opportunity to participate in the parliamentary national tournament. With the experience of the tournament, David and Jessie will return next year to continue their success that they registered throughout the year.
For the NIET, Kristofer Peterson was Whitman's sole competitive representative. Individual events competitors must qualify for the national tournament through either their competitive successes throughout the year, or placing at the qualifying tournament held in each region. Kristofer qualified during the season in two events, extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking. Kristofer was regionally dominant in his events, and registered a rather successful national showing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Kristofer has the goal to break into the quarterfinals at the national tournament next year.
Obviously, with national goals in sight, the return of many of these competitors will help Whitman to even more success at the national tournament. Next year, CEDA nationals will be at California State University-Long Beach, Parliamentary Nationals at Rice University, and the NIET will be at the University of Florida.
After a full six years of my Whitman experience, I'm off to the "real-world." While rather tentative about my new life in Atlanta, Georgia, I feel confident that I am prepared because of my debate experiences. In this newsletter, I want to offer some final reflections about Whitman Debate and Speech and state some deserved thank-yous to professors, friends, coaches, and mentors.
The landscape of debate both nationally and regionally has changed significantly. Whitman students have done a great job pioneering much of this change. The Pacific Northwest has benefited from our "team" mentality and our strong focus on fairness. I'm actually thankful that I was able to participate in the evolution. Who can forget the strongest Whitman argument ever made--the tantric yoga super Eastern death is good (you laugh, but we won!) Thankfully, we have moved beyond such silliness; I'm proud that I never ran the Tomahawk counterplan, I'm happy that Jim forced us to develop backfiles, I'm thankful that Bob has maintained his strong interest in our well-being. I'm also excited for the future.
My Whitman debate experience has been wide-ranging. I have done IEs--prose, poetry, duo, extemp, and impromptu. I was bad at all of them. I have debated junior division (I was from Idaho, remember!) I also debated in four CEDA National tournaments. Whitman has given me more than I can return in annual giving, so Jared, our new Annual Fund Officer, don't even try. I hope that future debaters and IEers enjoy the history of excellence in forensics at Whitman. You have a great staff and strong alumni group! Some final advice to all: always go to class (It's a good idea!), remember that the coaching staff is human, remember that you are human, make friends from other squads, and make effigies out of onion bagels!
Amanda Elegant and Andy Backland with Jared Phillips in the background giving the peace symbol. Good times in Tijuana.
Coaching Staff, Whitman Forensics, Spring 1995
Director of Forensics, James Hanson
Assistant Director of Forensics, Ryan J. Hagemann
Assistant Director of Debate, Charlotte Smith
Student Assistant, Nicole Levin
Coaching Assistant, Jennifer Becker
Chair, Department of Speech, Robert M. Withycombe
President, Whitman College, Thomas E. Cronin
Competitors, Whitman Forensics Spring 1995
Amanda Elegant, Andy Backlund, Chris White, Dave Perry, Erin Carlson, Erin Rogers, Jared Phillips, David Kearney , Jessie Sherwood, Karen Skantze, Katy Dixon, Kerrie Leitch, Kristofer Peterson, Sean Harris, Shannon Henderson, Steve Rowe, Tim Clairmont, Ryan Murphy