Whitman College Forensics


A Newsletter of the Whitman College Forensics Team, Vol. 2, No. 2, May 1996


Whitman CEDA Debate Success

Another successful semester of excellent competition has now drawn to a close for the Whitman debate squad. The team earned a third place finish in the Northwest region with a total of 76 CEDA points. That's in addition to having two teams who received votes in the national "top ten" list and who were ranked 21st and 35th in the nation in the power rankings index. Look for details on page 2!

Tiger joins Adam, Andy N, Sean, Matt, Andy B, Natalie and Steve for fun at Disneyland while at the California Swing tournaments.


All-American Awards

Our two competing seniors, Andy Backland and Steve Rowe were both recognized at the CEDA National tournament with some very special awards. The Academic and All American awards are awarded to an elite group of 20 forensic competitors, chosen by a committee each year that must select from among the "best of the best." Both awards are based on grade point average, difficulty of classes, service to the community, forensic participation, and competitive success. The Academic Award emphasizes academics more while the All-American emphasizes forensic success more. Kudos to Steve Rowe for winning the Academic Award and to Andy Backland for winning the All-American Award!!


Alumni Debate Reunion

Please don't forget to mark September 27-29, 1996 on your calendar-- it's Homecoming Weekend and the Speech and Debate Reunion!!! We hope you will come to enjoy memories with your classmates and friends. Alumni from classes of 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 1991 will hold class reunions. Other activities you can choose to participate in include: Alumni-Faculty Social Hour, Picnic Dinner, a 9-hole Golf Tournament, a Tennis Tournament, a mock Presidential Debate, a Soapbox Oratory, and several rounds of debate. It's going to be GREAT!!!


Weather Halts the Team

Matt Johnson says hello in front of a snowy team van and trailer before leaving for the University of Utah tournament.

A long, tough, winter put obstacles in the path of the team's travel this season. First, Jim slipped on ice and broke his ankle. Then, on the way back from the Utah tournament, the van was stopped on the freeway for over an hour while snow flurries hampered visibility and ice closed Dead Man's Pass. Truck drivers helped the Whitties put chains on the van so we could return to Walla Walla. After that, the team missed the Western Washington Univ. tournament because of snow and poor driving conditions. Jim didn't even go into school for fear he would slip again. Later in the semester, massive floods wrecked havoc on the area, washing out roads, houses, and the environment. For a while, all roads leading out of Walla Walla were closed. Fortunately, the roads opened so we could get to the Portland airport for our trip to the Heart of America tournament. Hopefully the weather will be better this coming year!


Jim's Broken Ankle

Jim Hanson is finally mended from his unfortunate losing battle with the ice outside of Olin!! Jim's condition kept him from attending the California Swing tournaments due to his unwieldy cast and crutches (Natalie managed to keep all 6 of the men in line during Jim's absence). Jim became an expert in crutch travel-- he could go up and down stairs with the greatest of ease, even challenging some of the spry men on the team to contests. After mastering that skill, he had to learn to drive with his opposite foot, which he did quite well--including getting the team to a plane in record time. Jim was quite glad to move on to a walking cast which proved to be much less of a challenge than the grueling physical therapy he has been going through in order to regain flexibility in his foot. But now he is cast-less and his foot will soon be back to normal! Yeah!


Jim, then bearded, waves. Those are his crutches and Rick Peacor, Univ. of Oregon coach, behind him.


A Great Big Thanks!

Thanks for your contributions to the Walker Speech and Debate Fund! Generous donors include Megan Medica, Jan Berman, Paul Beveridge, Lysle Wilhelmi, Jared Phillips, Adele Goss, Helen Barron, Barbara Stubblefield, and Beatrice Jordan. If we missed you, tell us as all contributions made to the Walker Fund are greatly appreciated!


Whitman CEDA Debate Success

California Swing

The team began their winnings with back-to-back tournaments in California. At the University of Southern California Sean Harris and Steve Rowe won 5 out of their 8 preliminary rounds. Although they lost their elimination round, they finished 9th overall. Steve also was recognized as the 15th speaker. At the second Swing tournament, Sean and Steve went 6-2, won their first elimination round on a 3-0 decision, and lost on a 2-1 in the octafinals round. Andy Backland and Adam Symonds also had success. At U.S.C. the two went 4-4 and missed breaking despite being among the top twenty five teams. At Long Beach, they stepped up to a 5-3 record, won their doubles round on a 3-0, and lost in octafinals, placing ninth. Matt Johnson and Andy Nachtigal, both first year students, competed valiantly in senior division but did not advance.

The Utah Trip

Next, the team traveled by van in the snowy weather to the University of Utah tournament. Sean and Steve went 5-3 and lost on another split decision in double-octafinals. They finished 17th. Andy and Adam again just missed advancing even though they were in the upper half of the teams at the tournament. Matt and Andy competed against teams closer to their experience level and they showed their talent! They went 5-3, advancing to the octafinals round where they lost on a split decision to finish in 9th place. Isaac Kamola and Derek Banducci competed in Novice division where they broke to quarterfinals, lost on a split decision, and finished 5th. Isaac also won a 4th place speaker award.

The Heart of America

At the prestigious Heart of America tournament, held in Kansas City, Missouri, Steve and Sean missed breaking into elimination rounds by of a speaker point. Andy and Adam improved their speaker points enough to advance to double-octafinals at this very difficult tournament. They lost on a 2-1 decision to Northwest Louisiana's top team, finishing in 17th place.

Northwest Forensic Conference Final Designated Tournament

The last NFC tournament of the year was held at Whitman College. On their "home turf" Sean and Andy debated together under the pseudonym "Molasses" because of their famed slow delivery (and some say thinking ) skills. They advanced to quarterfinals where they won on an unanimous decision. In semis they lost on a 2-1 and finished 3rd overall. Both Sean and Steve won speaker awards-- winning 5th and 6th speaker respectively. Steve and Adam (they were nicknamed "Hack" for their non-stop "hacking" about debate) advanced to the quarterfinals round where they won on a split decision and lost in the semis round, also on a split decision. Adam was the 8th speaker at the tournament. Matt and Andy Nachtigal competed well in senior division and just missed breaking on speaker points! Christina Biluk and PJ VanHulle as well as Erin Carlson, filled in at the tournament-doing quite well considering they were assigned to debate the night before the tournament started! Derek and Isaac competed in junior division. Isaac won a 10th place speaker award.

Northwest CEDA Championship

The next tournament was the Northwest CEDA Champs where, despite the tournament name, teams from all over the country came to compete. Sean and Steve, back debating together, won 4 out of 6 rounds. Because they broke with high speaker points, they bypassed the double-octafinal round and competed in octafinals where they lost on a split decision to the nation's number two ranked team. Andy Backlund and Adam won 4 out of 6 rounds and showed they were improving. They won their doubles round on a unanimous decision and lost in the octa-finals round to the nation's number one ranked team-Michigan State University. Matt and Andy Nachtigal again competed well against senior teams-but needed one more victory to advance into elimination rounds. Erin Carlson and Christina Biluk rejoined the team for this trip and, while they didn't do real well, they did learn and helped the team out immensely.

National CEDA Championship

At the National tournament Sean and Steve went 5-3, bypassed the partial quad-octafinals and ended up losing a close 2-1 decision in triple-octafinals. Andy and Adam went 6-2, breaking out of prelims as the 14th team in the country. They bypassed the partial quad-octas round and debated in triples where they lost on an extremely close 2-1 decision. Andy Backlund was the 21st speaker at the tournament! Matt and Andy Nachtigal had a rough tournament but learned much and are poised to do well next year.

Whitman Parliamentary Debate and Individual Events

Jason Smith gives the thumbs up for Whitman while David Kearney seems aghast that Natalie would take their pictures!

Although our Parliamentary debaters did not get to travel much due to weather, they did compete full force in our college tournament. At Whitman, Jason Smith and Dave Perry competed in open division and missed advancing to elimination rounds on speaker points. David Kearney and Dawn McDonald competed valiantly in the same division. In junior division, Ashley Gelvin and James Kuwahara went 5-1 and finished 5th. Also finishing in 5th place, but going 4-2 in prelims, were Tim Clairmont and Matt "Mouse" Vanderberg. Kelly Phipps and Amy Lechner and Evan Bartlett and Lea Rees did well in junior and novice divisions respectively but not enough to advance to elims.

At the Pi Kappa Delta tournament there are no elimination rounds; after the six prelims, teams are rated either superior, excellent, good, or receive no ranking depending on their speaker points and win-loss records. David Kearney paired up with Jason Smith to win 5 out of 6 rounds in open division at Pi Kapps and earn an excellent rating. At Parliamentary Nationals, held at Rice University in Texas, David and Jason placed in the top 2/3 of all teams.


Steve Rowe, hidden Erin Carlson, Evan Bartlett, Isaac Kamola, Amy Lechner, hidden Derek Banducci, Adam Symonds, a guest, and Dave Perry enjoy a speech team meeting! Get this thing over!

Intramural Debate and the Dovell-Gose Contest

Whitman Speech and Debate continues to serve students who do not wish to participate on the traveling squad but still want the fun and experience of speaking. Intramural debaters discussed whether Whitman should build a new Student Union Building and whether the United States should change federal campaign financing. Taking first place at the tournament were students Brett Kmiec and Jack Louie. In the Dovell-Gose Oratory Contest, James Kuwahara (who is also on the team) won the men's division with his oration on partial birth abortions and Gina Fleck won the women's division with her oration on movements advocating English as the official language. The Intramural Debate tournament was coordinated by Kerrie Leitch. Jim and Bob Withycombe judged the Dovell-Gose contest. Great fun was had by all!

In Individual Events news, the competitors also suffered during the first part of the season because we were forced to cancel our attendance at both the Pacific Lutheran University and Western Washington University tournament. In the meantime, the individual events competitors performed well at the Whitman Intrasquad tournament held in Olin Hall. Then, they geared up for the Whitman NFC Designated Tournament, and did well. Shannon Henderson was a finalist in Open After-Dinner Speaking, Lara Clark took second place in Junior Dramatic Interpretation, and Lara Clark and Dave Perry took second place in Junior Duo Interpretation. At Pi Kapps, David received an excellent for Impromptu speaking and Jason earned an excellent for his After-Dinner Speaking.


Send messages to the Whitman Forensics Team!

Write to Jim Hanson
Director of Forensics
Whitman College
Walla Walla WA 99362


Sarah Moores Walker

Sarah Moores Walker passed away this winter. She leaves a legacy of support for the Whitman Speech and Debate team. She and her husband, Tokey, established the Walker Fund. The Walker Fund makes the team's national travel and use of Lexis research possible. Her support for the team was deeply appreciated. Just this fall, she had written, with her sense of humor, "The memories of my being in "Ye Talke Shoppe" (Heavens!) and perhaps a year in debate are, fortunately, dimmed." She concluded saying that "My interest in debate continues through the endowment to the department." She will be greatly missed but always remembered for her generosity and her family's enthusiastic support for Whitman and forensics.


Moving On

Jenn, Andy Backlund, Natalie and Jim enjoy hanging out.

Natalie Yarwood, Assistant Director of Forensics, will be moving to Eugene, Oregon to be closer to her significant other, Kevin Kerwein. Loan Lam, Student Assistant and Senior, graduated with honors and will continue to live in Walla Walla. Jared Phillips, her husband and Assistant Director of Debate, will continue in his position in the Alumni Office. Jennifer Becker, Assistant Director of Debate and Admissions Officer, and Andy Backlund, Senior, will be moving to Wisconsin after their June 14th wedding where Jenn will enter graduate school in Politics and Andy will later attend the U. of Minnesota law school. Steve Rowe, Senior, will be entering law school at the University of Washington. Kerrie Leitch, Senior and Intramural Debate Coordinator, will work on science at the Hancock Field Station in Eastern Oregon.


Jared and Loan share good times during a team dinner.


Alumni Updates!

Thanks to all our alumni for responding with their remembrances and news involving life after forensics! We wanted to share the actual words of our alumni. Susan Myster writes, "I am now practicing law and studying for my tax LLM part-time." Patricia Latourette Lucas writes, "My partner Emily Stanton and I were debaters in 1945-6-7 under Professor John Ackley. Emily has gone into city politics and I have written 10 books." Dave Grant writes, "After varsity debate with Lewis and Clark High School, I came to Whitman enjoying that type of exchange of ideas. I have found the experience in high school and college invaluable in my current occupation as a trial lawyer. Additionally, I am an Adjunct Professor of Law at Gonzaga's School of Law teaching insurance law. The tools honed in high school and college have served me well in arguing cases in court, arguing cases at the Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court." Margaret Johnson Schneider writes, "Dorothy Robinson West and I represented Whitman in 1931... it was a worthwhile and interesting experience." Charlotte Smith called as Jim and Natalie were working on this newsletter and told us she'll be moving to Chicago where her husband David McCluskey will enter Northwestern University medical school. Wurth Coble writes, "I did participate one year with my team mate Brien Stafford . . . The one incidence I do remember is a debate where for some reason Brien was unable to be present. Rather than forfeit, I chose to fill in for him, thus debating twice. That is the one time I don't think we won." Anna Elefant writes, "Perhaps one of our most memorable times was when half of us were left in Biggs Junction on the way home." Helen Rasmussen Fogelquist writes, "Debating was an important part of my years at Whitman, 1935-37, when I was a member of the women's varsity team. The most memorable debate in which I participated was the one broadcast over Radio KUJ, when Marion Klobucher and I met the number one women's team from Washington State College (now Washington State University) and successfully upheld the negative side of the proposition: "That the Federal Government should own and operate the commercial banking facilities of the United States." Hank Freeman writes, "Our debate history is a long time back. But it was fun, and your newsletter sort of stirred up wonderful good feelings and warm memories. I wish you and all the students working on verbal persuasion a very good time. We sure had one." Junius Rochester, Lyla Braden, and Mike Mann also wrote to us, wishing the team the best. Plus, we'd like to send a big thanks to Dave Hackett and Erik Highberg for all the work they are putting into the upcoming Speech and Debate Reunion!


Director of Forensics, James Hanson

Assistant Director of Forensics, Natalie Yarwood

Assistant Director of Debate, Jennifer Becker

Assistant Director of Debate, Jared Phillips

Student Assistant Director of Debate, Loan Lam

Intramural Debate Coordinator, Kerrie Leitch

On Sabbatical, Department of Speech, Robert M. Withycombe

President, Whitman College Thomas E. Cronin

Competitors, Whitman Forensics, Spring 1996

Adam Symonds, Amy Lechner, Andy Backlund, Andy Nachtigal, Ashley Gelvin, Christina Biluk, David Kearney , David Perry, Dawn Mac Donald, Derek Banducci, Erin Carlson, Evan Bartlett, Isaac Kamola, James Kuwahara, Jason Smith, Kelly Phipps, Lara Clark, Lea Rees, Matt Johnson, Matt Vanderburg, PJ Van Hulle, Sean Harris, Shannon Henderson, Steve Rowe, Tim Clairmont