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Lewis & Clark Debate Team Caps Season With Big Wins

December 02, 2016

  • From left to right: Ben Soleim '18, Jacob Wisda '18, Claire Crossman '17, Brady Quick '19, James O'Donnell '18

Lewis & Clark’s forensics team has reinforced its reputation by achieving remarkable success at the recent Linfield College forensics tournament. The Linfield tournament ended the semester with a historic weekend that capped a strong season.

Over the past fifty years, Lewis & Clark has consistently been ranked among the finest colleges and universities in the nation in forensics. Last year, Lewis & Clark was ranked as having the best debate team in the country. Lewis & Clark forensics consistently sends competitors to national tournaments, including those in Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and California. Several speech and debate students achieved both individual and group successes over the course of the year.

For the second year in a row—a rare feat—
Jacob Wisda ’18 won the R.D. Mahaffey Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding speaker at the competition. Wisda, who bested nearly 300 competitors from 30 colleges, became only the fifth competitor to win the award back-to-back since its inception in 1965.

“[The tournament] pushed me as a competitor,” said Wisda. “Finishing off the weekend by winning the Mahaffey trophy again was by no means easy. Receiving it for the second time was just as great, if not a greater honor than it was the first time. I’m happy to be a part of the legacy of excellence that Lewis & Clark’s forensics team leaves behind.”

The team’s coach and director of forensics for Lewis & Clark, Joseph Gantt, could not be more proud of the accomplishments of the team.

“Whether in speech or debate competition, our students have shown that they are sharp critical thinkers, strong researchers, and outstanding communicators,” Gantt said. “The quality that we see on a daily basis is reflected in how well they have performed as a team at tournaments across the region and nation. I am excited to see what will come next in the spring, and I have no doubt these students will continue the strong tradition of Lewis & Clark forensics.”

This story was written by Elise Wilde ’18. 
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