Whitman Forensics Newsletter
Vol. 18, No. 2, June, 2012
Click the Stories that interest you
Whitman has a long history of excelling at the year-ending CEDA Nationals tournament. With a championship to their name and many runs to the late elimination rounds (including a finals showing in 2010), the team continued that strong tradition this year. Four Whitman teams competed at the University of Oklahoma.
The challenge for our teams was compounded by the prevalence of kritik-oriented teams and judges, a style of debate that does not traditionally favor Whitman. Nonetheless, the team put its best foot forward and debated as well as they could.
Seniors Allison Humble and Alex Zendeh proved that adverse conditions are no match for the tenacity of Whitman debate. Whitman HZ went 7-1 in the preliminary rounds and reached the elims as one of the top seeds, garnering a bye for their first elim. HZ won round after round against the kritik, defeating top-quality competition from Emporia, Missouri State, and Rochester. This series of wins set up a rematch of the 2010 finals between Whitman and two-time champions and hometown favorites, University of Oklahoma. Whitman won the coin toss and opted affirmative, debating what many observers called the best round they’d seen all year. Whitman lost on a 6-3 decision but the Whitman extended family remains extremely proud of their accomplishment. Go Missionaries!
Speaking of Allison and Alex, they have won the Winston Cup for the second year in a row. The Winston Cup is given to the top policy debate team on the program. The award is determined based on the policy team’s best record for the year coupled with consideration for support for the team.
Alex and Allison, both seniors, finished the season with a record of 56-27. They placed 2nd at the CEDA National Championship after a year in which they advanced to elims at Georgia State, Wake Forest, Fullerton, Kentucky, and a 6-0 record at the NDT district qualifier.
Allison noted that, “The Winston cup is the kind of encouragement that makes me want to work hard and strive for success so that I may live up to and carry on Whitman’s excellent debate legacy.” Alex added that “This year I put in hundreds of hours of work. The Winston Cup acknowledges that work and I am grateful for the recognition of this award.”
Jim noted “It is fitting that Allison and Alex receive the Winston Cup. They have worked hard and achieved a level of excellence that only a select group of teams does.”
As many of you know Jim begins every debate season with a speech; it is a speech about a mountain and how we need to climb it. Well in case you have not yet heard, this year we were “big” and we were “strong” and we “climbed to the top of the mountain.” The Parliamentary debate team had a wildly successful nationals this year, demonstrating strong showings at both the NPTE and NPDA.
For the exclusive National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), we fielded five teams, the maximum number that can qualify from an individual school, with three of the teams breaking to the double elimination rounds. Of these three teams, we had two place in the top 20 and one in the top ten. Additionally, of these ten debaters, five received speaker awards for being one of the top 20 speakers, which is an amazing distribution of success, especially given the size of Whitman and the small number allowed to compete at the NPTE. But our success did not stop there; we continued to climb the mountain.
At the NPDA national championship tournament we brought 9 teams with 6 advancing to elimination rounds. Although the mountain was tough, these 6 teams (which featured an all frosh team of Michelle Flores and Yonah Biers-Ariel) all fought bravely and Whitman proceeded with a strong showing, advancing 2 teams to semi-finals. This was awesome not only because we had closeout potential at nationals, but also because this was the first time one school had two teams in semi-finals since 2006 and the only school to advance one of the two teams to finals. In finals, Miranda Morton and John Henry Heckendorn competed against the NPTE champions from Washburn and had a good showing, but unfortunately lost, taking second place.
Still, due to their efforts, along with all the other members of Whitman’s Parliamentary debate team, for the third consecutive year, we claimed the National Sweepstakes Award. This means over the course of the 2011-2012 season Whitman scored more total points than any other school in the nation. That is climbing the mountain.
Every year, Whitman’s Parliamentary tournament is hailed as one of the most competitive and well-hosted tournaments of the year. This year was no exception given the praise received from teams outside the region. At the tournament’s close, director Jim Hanson was accused of being a “witch” for the “spell he cast” on the Concordia debaters, including praises such as “the best tournament experience I have ever encountered” and “no better way to spend a weekend.” Regional teams, already accustomed to the excellence of the Whitman swing, were unsurprised and even expecting such a reception. The final round of the first half also featured an important and necessary discussion about gender, race, and inclusion in debate, all of which was well-received by audience members.
This year’s tournament featured many of the same benefits that have established its reputation: the extra minute of prep between speeches enhanced the quality of debates, topic areas were specific and yielded interesting discussions, and the variety of teams represented demonstrated the breath of the field. Individuals who successfully competed in debate and individual events were rewarded with excellent awards. Perhaps best of all was the food, which was both plentiful and delicious. Highlights included the taco bar with all-you-can-eat burrito and taco fixings, the Panda Express dinner, and the infinite soda dispensaries lined up in the Olin main foyer. The weekend was truly momentous and one remembered in the minds of all who attended.
Hanne, Michelle and Yonah, Julie
David, Allison and Paige with tournament participants, Jim
Tim and Collin with Michelle in the background, Sarah Webb (UPS) and Robear Maxwell (Concordia), Michelle, Satinder, Tom S, and Lydia
Ben, Katie Bergus (Oregon) and former coach Nick Robinson, Noah, alum Joel Wilson, Paige
Shanglun with Julie Caton’s daughter Kaeldra, Satinder and Jamie with alum Joel Wilson
Every year the debate team obsesses over some type of game, Internet meme, or movie that for a short while dominates our free time and/or topics of conversation. In the past, this role has featured popular hits like: Super Smash Brothers, Risk, Killer Bunnies, Pinochle, Magic, Doom, and Game of Thrones.
Currently the team’s obsessive nature has shifted to the board game Settlers of Catan. For those of you who may not be familiar, Settlers is a board game that usually lasts between 45 and 90 minutes where players must acquire, trade, and steal resources to out-develop their opponents. And like all good board games, the conclusion always turns out to be a double-edge-sword. If you win it is awesome, so you play more because you think you are good, or enjoy winning. If you lose, you end up playing more because you need revenge, or came close to winning last time, or simply need to redeem failure. Either way, it is a vicious cycle that has consumed significant amounts of time, leaving debaters fighting to cling to the rest of their day after having spent hours playing Settlers.
Debaters Mitch Dunn and Andy Larson claimed they “can’t get enough of it,” while individuals like Carly Johnson have had to stop playing the game entirely so that she could focus on her finals. It is also common to hear Parliamentary coach Nigel Ramoz-Leslie yelling “I need more wheat!” Needless to say, Settlers slowly infiltrated the debate team, but since its beginning, its popularity has spread like wildfire, leaving debaters in the precarious position of having to balance their finals work and battling friends in Settlers.
With an incredibly generous donation from Megan Salzman-Medica and John Medica, we will now have 3 professors devoted to rhetoric studies. Jim will lead up the department as its chair with courses focused on political and legal rhetoric. In one year positions for 2012-13, Patrick Belanger will teach social justice and social activism rhetoric courses and Matt deTar will instruct courses in rhetoric and discourse theory.
This fall, we will conduct a search for the tenured position that Megan and John endowed, the Neilen-Anderson rhetoric professorship. The professorship is named in honor of Ethel Ann Neilen (Megan’s mom) and Helen Kathryn Anderson (John’s mom). Both moms were inspirational in encouraging Megan and John’s higher education and were wonderful, caring mothers.
Jim noted, “This is a wonderful gift that will provide generations of students the opportunity to study in-depth the way our society communicates and argues about important public issues. Further, it will help students develop writing and oral skills critical to being contributing members of society. I hope we will honor these great women with the highest quality, most engaging, and inspiring instruction possible.”
Students are already expressing interest in the new rhetoric studies majors and the department is ready to grow and become a symbol of excellence at Whitman College.
Austin, Texas is world renowned for live music and downhome southern barbecue. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate well for vegetarians at meal time. This was particular true near the tournament hotel for the University of Texas tournament. Tired and famished after a long day of debating, the team put its gustatory faith in the navigational prowess of Allison Humble.
Allison bravely led the team on a trek for late-night sustenance down dark streets and the back alleys of Austin. Team members were understandably skeptical. Without a map and several missing street numbers, Allison was not phased. She discovered an Indian food truck with outdoor seating. The food was delicious and fortified the team enough to brave the journey back home.
Alum James Egan wrote Jim to note the release of a video of police in a misconduct case. As James noted, “Debate at Whitman was what got me interested in public speaking. Recently it culminated in national exposure on police misconduct issues in Seattle. The most important thing I learned about public speaking at Whitman was the ability to start a conversation.” The video is available at: http://www.rightthisminute.com/story/lawyer-releases-seattle-police-dash-cam-video
After seven years, Whitman says goodbye to policy coach Aaron Hardy.
Aaron came to Whitman in 2005, fresh from debating at Michigan State University. He coached the policy team to several NDT first rounds, multiple prestigious round robin appearances, and the elimination rounds at every major tournament. Aaron coached dozens of Whitman debaters over the years and always enjoyed defeating the Ivy Leagues as one of the few four year small liberal arts colleges in NDT/CEDA debate. While at Whitman, Aaron made significant advancements in paperless debating and the use of technology. A significant portion of college debate teams now use the “Whitman Template.” The team will sorely miss his card cutting, grumpy monologues, impromptu rap battles, and deep love of grrl pop.
Fortunately, the policy team remains in good hands. Senior Alex Zendeh will be returning to Whitman in the fall as the new policy debate coach. After four years of dedication to the team, countless victories, and success at the highest levels of the activity, Alex will no doubt make sure Whitman debate keeps climbing the mountain. We wish him and the team the best!
Annabelle, Jamie, Elana, Jonathan, Olivia and Tiffany
For the second year in a row, the team made the trip to the NDT-qualifying District Tournament at Weber State University. After last year’s cancelled tournament due to snow, Jim elected to fly the team to Salt Lake City, saving the 10+ hour drive. Despite one team dropping out at the last minute due to illness, Whitman still made a strong showing. Seniors Allison Humble and Alex Zendeh went undefeated to claim the top spot in the district and a bid to the National Debate Tournament. Sophomores David Collier and Ben Menzies also had a strong tournament, reaching the elimination runoff rounds and competing for the final district slot to the NDT.
Unfortunately, the final runoff debate was slated to start after the team’s scheduled flight home. Aaron stayed behind to await the result while Jim took the rest of the team to the airport. Ben and David lost their debate, narrowly missing qualifying to the NDT. Aaron, Ben, and David started the long drive home around 10pm. Despite the arduous trek, including a four hour nap at a hotel in Boise and a closed mountain pass, they still made it back to Walla Walla in time for Monday morning classes. Bummer!
· Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics (20th year), Chair, Rhetoric and Media Studies
· Aaron Hardy, Policy Coach (7th year)
· Nigel Ramoz-Leslie, Parliamentary-I.E. Coach (1st year)
· Nick Griffin, Parliamentary-Policy Coach (1st year)
· Olivia Kipper, Alex Folkerth, Satinder Haer
· John Henry Heckendorn, Drake Skaggs, Miranda Morton, Allison Humble, Writing Fellow Student Coaching Assistants
Adam McKibben, Alex Folkerth , Alex Zendeh, Allison Humble, Andy Larson, Annabelle Marcovici, Ben Menzies, Carly Johnson, David Collier, Drake Skaggs, Hanne Jensen, Jamie Edison, John-Henry Heckendorn, Jonathan Barsky, Logan Emlet, Lydia Kautsky, Marten King, Michelle Flores, Miranda Morton, Mitch Dunn, Nick Budak, Noah Teller, Olivia Kipper, Paige Joki, Satinder Haer, Sean (Shanglun) Wang, Sean Mulloy, Tia Butler, Tiffany Lewis, Tom Shellum, Yonah Biers-Ariel, Zac Parker
Anna Stutz, Collin Smith, Draco (Yajun) Liu , Elana Simon , Henry Allen, Louisa Rogers, MC Maziya, Nandini Rathi, Nate Higby, Rania Mussa , Richard Gagliardi, Tim Reed, Tom Potter
· Bob Withycombe, Professor Emeritus, Rhetoric and Media Studies
· Robert Sickels, Professor, Rhetoric and Media Studies
· Patrick Belanger, Visiting Assistant Professor, Rhetoric and Media Studies
· Dan Terrio, Chief Technology Officer
· Rebecca Hanrahan, Humanities Division Chair
· Chuck Cleveland, Dean of Students
· Tim Kaufman-Osborn, Provost and Dean of Faculty
· George Bridges, President, Whitman College
The Intramural Debates, emphasizing public audience argument, debated whether George Zimmerman was guilty of murder against Trayvon Martin.
Jim commented on the debates: “I thought this was an excellent topic as the Zimmerman-Martin case raises issues of racism, crime, the ideal of innocent until proven guilty, the stand your ground law, and much more.”
Students won cash prizes up to $100 at the championship tournament. They also enjoyed delicious snacks. Jim was assisted by team members and Olivia Kipper in running the tournament.
Full Info is at: http://www.whitman.edu/debate/imdebates/index.htm
· In experienced division, Tim Wilder placed 1st, Zach Johnston placed 2nd, Rania Mussa and Skyler Bissell were semi-finalists.
· In the intermediate-inexperienced division, Woody Jacobson placed 1st, Rose Haag was 2nd, Kyle Seasly and Draco (Yajun) Liu were semi-finalists.
The Dovell Gose Oratory Contest
The Dovell Gose Oratory Contest featured a triple judging panel including Jim, Nick Griffin, and Olivia Molden. Nearly 20 students participated.
Jim noted that “We had a more serious set of speeches this year and they were excellent.”
Yonah Biers Ariel took first with a speech on Aaron Burr begin the worst vice president ever; Andy Larson, Zach Johnston, and Paige Joki took second, third, and fourth place.
Yonah, Zach, Andy, Paige
As always, the End of the Year Party was a delicious food fest. Held at Jim’s, the team enjoyed a delicious meal with spaghetti and parmesan chicken plus bread and humus, Jim’s “sweet salad,” cake, and other delicious items. Jim spoke warmly of the graduating seniors and the hard work and dedication of the coaches. Jim noted that all had withstood difficulties, persevered, and excelled because of their commitment to the program and to forensics. A good time was had by all.
Andy with Mitch in background, Adam with Beverly Li, Satinder and Lydia
Jamie, Tia and Megan Emery, Jim
Yonah, Nigel and Paige, Zac
John Henry, Drake, and Miranda, Logan and Carly
Carly and Andy with Alex and Adam in the background, Nick and Marten, Alex and Adam
Paige, Rose Haag, Hanne, Ben with Zac, Sean M, and Jim in the background, Ben and Tia with team members in the background.
Nick B, Paige, Rose Haag, Miranda and Olivia
Sean M, Olivia and Nick B, Lydia and Olivia
Nick G, Olivia Molden, Tom S
We are grateful for your contributions to the forensic team! Generous donors December 6, 2011 through May 28, 2012 include:
· Abigail Joy St. Lawrence
· Alyce LeBlanc and Robert Brinton
· Benjamin Meiches and Bevin Hall
· Beverly J. and Robert J. Hanson
· Brian Marshall Simmonds
· Bridget Suzanne Kustin
· C. Lawrence and Priscilla Lutcher
· David H. Allard
· David J. and Shari L. Barsky
· Emily Ruth Cordo
· Eric Arvid Suni
· James B. Hanson
· James C. Waldo
· Janice Sandra Berman
· Jason P. Smith
· John Ross Miller
· Michael King and Nancy Neraas
· Nancy and Robert M. Withycombe
· PG&E Corporation Foundation
· Richard B. Emlet
· Richard R. and Eleanor L. Krahn
· Ryan James Hagemann
· Timothy J. O'Connell
· Todd Robert Brown
· If we missed you, please tell us because we do appreciate your support!
Send contributions to
The Annual Fund Office
Walla Walla WA 99362
Make Checks to Whitman College
Write a note that says (choose one of the below):
Contribution to the Debate Team
Contribution to the Withycombe Fund
Contribution to the Hanson Fund
Contribution to the Walker Fund
Contribution to the Salzman-Medica Fund
The Policy Team, Spring 2012.
From the left: Ben, Jonathan, Annabelle, Tiffany, Allison, Sean M, David, Alex, Tia.
Missing: Aaron (coach), Nick G (coach).
ALEX ZENDEH AND ALLISON HUMBLE
Georgia State, Doubles
Wake Forest, Doubles
NDT District Qualifier, 6-0, First Place
CEDA Nationals, Second Place
NDT, 4-4, top 35 in the nation
ANDY LARSON AND TIFFANY LEWIS
BEN MENZIES AND DAVID COLLIER
WNPT, Second Place
NDT District Qualifier, 4-2, Semis (3rd alternate)
JONATHAN BARSKY AND SEAN MULLOY
Frosh-Sophomore Nationals, Octas
The Parli Team
The Parli-IE Team, Spring 2012.
Front Row: Alex, Carly, Paige, Drake with John Henry behind, Miranda, Olivia, Logan, Nick G with Hanne and Michelle behind Alex and Carly.
Second Row: Zac P, Tom, Andy, Adam, Zane, Noah, Elana, Lydia, Satinder.
Third Row: Yonah, Nigel, Mitch, Tim R, Jamie, Nick B with Shanglun and Marten behind Jamie and Nick B.
2011-12 Parli and IE Awards
Adam McKibben, Northwest Warmup, 6th Open Impromptu
Alex F and Jamie, Pacific, First, Novice
Andy and Adam, GSL I, Quarterfinals
Andy and Adam, GSL II, Doubles
Andy and Adam, Northwest Warmup, Octas Open
Andy and Adam, Washburn 1, Octafinals
Andy and Adam, Washburn 2, Second Place
Andy and Adam, Whitman Withycombe, Octas
Andy and Adam, Mile High I, Doubles
Andy and Adam, NPDA Nationals, 17th Place
Carly Johnson, Northwest Warmup, 2nd Open Extemp
Carly Johnson, Pacific, Finalist, Open Extemp
Carly Johnson, Whitman Withycombe, 6th Extemp
Collin and Anna, Northwest Warmup, First Place Novice (tie)
Drake and Mitch, GSL I, Quarterfinals
Drake and Mitch, GSL II, Octafinals
Drake and Mitch, Puget Sound U, 1st Place
Drake and Mitch, Washburn 1, Octafinals
Drake and Mitch, Washburn 2, Octafinals
Drake and Mitch, NPDA Nationals, 3rd Place
Drake and Mitch, NPTE, 8th Place
Drake Skaggs, Northwest Warmup, 2nd Open Impromptu
Drake Skaggs, Lewis and Clark, Semis, Lewis and Clark, Open Impromptu
Elana and Alex F, NW Parli Champs, 1st Place (Novice)
Elana and Alex F, Whitman Withycombe, First Novice
Elana and Stephen (Clark), Pacific, Semis, Novice
Hanne and Carly, Lewis and Clark, Quarters Open
Hanne and Carly, Pacific, Octas
Hanne and Carly, Whitman Withycombe, Doubles
Hanne Jensen, Northwest Warmup, 3rd Junior Extemp
Hanne, Lewis and Clark, 1st Junior Extemp
Hanne, Pacific, First, Junior Extemp
Hanne, Whitman Withycombe, 1st, Extemp
John Henry and Drake, Whitman McSloy, First
John Henry and Miranda, GSL I, Octafinals
John Henry and Miranda, GSL II, First Place
John Henry and Miranda, Mile High I, Quarters
John Henry and Miranda, NPDA Nationals, 2nd Place
John Henry and Miranda, Pacific, Semis
John Henry and Miranda, Puget Sound U Round Robin, 1st Place
John Henry and Miranda, Puget Sound U, 1st Place
John Henry and Miranda, Washburn 2, Quarterfinals
John Henry and Miranda, Whitman Withycombe, Second
John Henry and Miranda, NPTE, 11th Place
John-Henry and Miranda, Lewis and Clark, Octas Open
John-Henry and Miranda, Northwest Warmup, Second Open
John Henry Heckendorn, Pacific, Finalist, Open Impromptu
Logan and Marten, NW Parli Champs, 1st Place closeout (Frosh-Soph)
Logan and Olivia, Northwest Warmup, Quarters Open
Logan and Olivia, Pacific, Quarters
Logan and Olivia, Whitman Withycombe, Doubles
Logan and Paige, GSL I, Doubles
Logan, Lewis and Clark, Semis, Lewis and Clark, Junior Impromptu
Logan, Whitman Withycombe, 5th Impromptu
Lydia and Tom, NW Parli Champs, 2nd Place (JV)
Lydia and Tom, Whitman Withycombe, Semis JV
Marten and Shanglun, Mile High I, Doubles
Marten and Shanglun, GSL I, Doubles
Marten and Shanglun, GSL II, Doubles
Marten and Shanglun, NPDA Nationals, 33rd Place
Marten and Shanglun, Pacific, Quarters (walk over)
Marten and Shanglun, Whitman McSloy, Octas
Marten and Shanglun, Whitman Withycombe, Quarters
Marten and Shanglun, NPTE, 14th Place
Marten and Shanglun, Lewis and Clark, Octas Open
Marten and Shanglun, Northwest Warmup, Octas Open
Marten King, Lewis and Clark, 3rd Novice Extemp
Marten King, Pacific, First, Novice Extemp
Marten King, Whitman Withycombe, 4th Extemp
Michelle and Yonah, Lewis and Clark, Quarters Junior
Michelle and Yonah, Northwest Warmup, First Place Junior (tie)
Michelle and Yonah, NW Parli Champs, 1st Place closeout (Frosh-Soph)
Michelle and Yonah, Pacific, First, JV
Michelle Flores, Lewis and Clark, 4th Junior Impromptu
Michelle Flores, Northwest Warmup, 4th Junior Impromptu
Michelle Flores, Pacific, Finalist, Junior Impromptu
Michelle Flores, Whitman Withycombe, 3rd Impromptu
Mitch and Drake, Lewis and Clark, Quarters Open
Mitch and Drake, Mile High I, Octas
Mitch and Drake, Northwest Warmup, Semis Open
Mitch and Drake, Pacific, Semis (walk over)
Mitch and Drake, Whitman Withycombe, Semis
Nandini with Tanya, Lewis and Clark, First Novice
Nick B, Whitman Withycombe, 6th Impromptu
Noah, Whitman Withycombe, 2nd Extemp
Olivia Kipper, Lewis and Clark, 5th Open Impromptu
Olivia Kipper, Whitman Withycombe, 1st Impromptu
Paige and Nick B, Lewis and Clark, Octas Open
Paige and Nick B, Mile High I, Doubles
Paige and Nick B, Northwest Warmup, Octas Open
Paige and Nick B, Pacific, Second
Paige and Nick B, Puget Sound U, Octas
Paige and Nick B, Washburn 2, Double-Octafinals (walkover)
Paige and Nick B, Whitman Withycombe, Doubles
Paige and Nick B, NPDA Nationals, 33rd Place
Paige Joki, Northwest Warmup, 3rd Open Extemp
Paige Joki, Lewis and Clark, 2nd Junior Extemp
Paige Joki, Pacific, Second, Junior Extemp
Paige Joki, Whitman Withycombe, 3rd Extemp
Rania and Yajun, Whitman Withycombe, Quarters JV
Satinder and Jamie, Whitman McSloy, First JV
Satinder and Jamie, Whitman Withycombe, Quarters JV
Satinder and Richie, Northwest Warmup, Quarters Junior
Satinder and Tom, Pacific, Quarters JV
Satinder, Pacific, Third, Novice Extemp
Shanglun Wang, Northwest Warmup, 5th Open Impromptu
Shanglun Wang, Lewis and Clark, 6th Open Impromptu
Shanglun Wang, Whitman Withycombe, 4th Impromptu
Tim and Collin, Whitman McSloy, Semis, JV
Tom and Lydia, Northwest Warmup, Quarters Junior
Tom and Lydia, Puget Sound U, JV 1st Place
Yonah Ariel-Biers, Lewis and Clark, 3rd Novice Impromptu
Yonah Ariel-Biers, Pacific, Finalist, Novice Impromptu
Yonah Ariel-Biers, Whitman Withycombe, 5th Extemp
Zac and Noah, Lewis and Clark, First Junior
Zac and Noah, Mile High I, Doubles
Zac and Noah, Northwest Warmup, First Place Junior (tie)
Zac and Noah, NW Parli Champs, 5th Place (Frosh-Soph)
Zac and Yonah, Puget Sound U, JV 1st Place
Zac Parker, Lewis and Clark, 5th Novice Impromptu
Zane and Jamie, Northwest Warmup, First Place Novice (tie)
Zane MacPhee, Northwest Warmup, 5th Junior Extemp
Zane MacPhee, Lewis and Clark, 4th Novice Extemp